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US Open Tennis Championship 2023

Source: Tim Clayton – Corbis / Getty

Coco Gauff‘s dream of winning the US Open is inching closer and closer.

In Thursday night’s match, she took on Karolina Muchova from the Soviet Union, currently ranking number 10 in the world.

It was Gauff’s chance to prove herself on the big stage during the semifinals, and she once again showed why she is one of the brightest stars in the sport.

The 19-year-old came out strong by beating Muchova in two straight sets, 6-4 and 7-5, and included an exhausting 40-shot rally. The win makes her the youngest American woman to reach the US Open final since Serena Williams in 1999.

After the match, she spoke to the media about the journey it took for her to get to this stage.

“I really believe that now I have the maturity and ability to do it,” Gauff told ESPN. “You know, regardless of what happens on Saturday, I’m really proud of how I have been handling the last few weeks.”

While Gauff did come out on top, not everything went as planned since there was a 50-minute delay caused by environmental activists– including one who glued his bare feet to the concrete in the stands.

Police removed the four activists — who wore shirts that read “End Fossil Fuels”– creating the distraction, and Gauff admitted after the match that staying loose and in the zone was challenging.

“It was a bit challenging because, you know, it’s not like a typical delay,” Gauff said. “So we didn’t know how long it was going to take. We were talking to the supervisor and security. You know, they could say it could be as quick as five minutes or as long as an hour. It was tough to figure out if we stay warm or conserve energy.”

Now that she’s made it into her first final in Flushing Meadows, she’ll have a worthy opponent in Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenk, who took down American Madison Keys.

The much-anticipated match against Sabalenka goes down on Saturday to see who’s crowned the US Open winner.