Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Gauff and Muchova drop just six games as they advance to the U.S. Open semifinals

Coco Gauff is a talented player with a strategy-minded coach, and--while I don't know what her specific game plan was for yesterday's quarterfinal match--I know what it might as well have been: Ostapenko dismantled the world number 1 in the last match, so--no worries! Because, with rare exceptions (and yes, there was a big one in 2017), Ostapenko is the queen of inconsistency. She is brilliant in one match, and easily destructs in the next. To be fair, Gauff gave Ostapenko plenty to handle today, but hitting 12 winners and making 36 unforced errors says it all. Gauff defeated the errant Latvian 6-1, 6-2 in just and hour and eight minutes. (Also, to be fair, Ostapenko said that she had been told that she would play a night match, which certainly would have been more beneficial to her since she wasn't able to go to bed until 5 a.m. on Monday morning.)

In Tuesday's other quarterfinal, French Open finalist Karolina Muchova faced off against Sorana Cirstea. Muchova not only put on her usual style clinic, she also put on a clinic in shot selection and accuracy. Muchova didn't allow Cirstea any games in the first set, and--while the Romanian player raised her level in the second set--she was defeated 6-0, 6-3. Muchova had a 70/60 first and second serve percentage stat, was successful at the net in 76% of her attempts, and hit 32 winners while making just 15 unforced errors.

Both Muchova and Czech countrywoman Marketa Vondrousova have had so many problems with injuries--in Muchova's case, she was told by doctors that she might now ever play tennis again--that the second half of 2023 feels like a long-delayed showcase of their considerable style and talent. Wimbledon champion Vondrousova will play her quarterfinal match tonight.

In doubles, the team of Jen Brady and Luisa Stefani has reached the semifinals, as has the team of Gaby Dabrowski and Erin Routliffe. In mixed doubles, top seeds Jess Pegula and Austin Krajicek have reached the quarterfinals, as have Ena Shibahara and Mate Pavic.

And in wheelchair singes, defending champion Diede de Groot won her opening match, defeating Pauline Deroulede.

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