Two former French Open finalists will face off a spot in their first slam final outside of Paris on Thursday night as Coco Gauff and Karolina Muchova play in the first match of the night on Arthur Ashe. The winner will play either Aryna Sabalenka or Madison Keys, with the former expected to advance. Gauff won the only meeting last month, taking it 6-3 6-4 in the final of Cincinnati – something that is sure to give her confidence heading into this one.
While all the talk has centred around the order of play scheduling for her quarter final with Ostapenko, it does ignore the impressive performance put in by the American to get off the court in under 70 minutes. The 6-0 6-2 win was her most one-sided at a slam, some feat given the importance of the match. “I’m so happy,” she said in her on-court interview. “Last year I lost in the quarterfinals. I’m happy and ready to get back to work on the next one. Honestly I didn’t feel comfortable at all during the match – even on the match points. It’s tough against her, because you can’t really be aggressive.”
Muchova’s quarter final win looks just as easy by the score but it doesn’t tell the whole story given the Czech saved 10 of 11 break points during her 6-0 6-3 win over Sorana Cirstea. She also hit six aces in the win, helping her to make it two slam semi finals from the last three slams. Any suggestion that her French Open was just a fluke run can definitely be ignored now, given the evidence of what a fit Muchova can do with a run of matches.
This represents a massive opportunity for Gauff, who has took advantage of a draw that has seen her avoid both Sabalenka and Swiatek before the final. It will be interesting to see how Muchova targets the Gauff forehand given that she doesn’t have the overwhelming power to target it like other players do. She does have the smarts to do so but did find it tough in their only meeting so far. The serve is going to be big here too with Gauff currently second in the ace standings for the whole tournament. That is above the likes of Sabalenka, Keys and Ostapenko – all of whom are considered big servers capable of hitting aces somewhat regularly.
Prediction – Coco Gauff in three sets