Coco Gauff has smashed her way into her first US Open semifinal.
The 19-year-old Gauff dominated Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, defeating her 6-0, 6-2 in just 68 minutes, the shortest women's singles match of the entire tournament. She's the first American teenager to make the US Open semifinals since Serena Williams in 2001.
Gauff was prepared to go toe-to-toe with Ostapenko and her powerful, decisive style. But playing so hard means Ostapenko lives dangerously on the court. Her shots can go from hugging the line to landing way out of bounds pretty quickly. In the first set against Gauff, every other shot seemed to be a misfire, landing just beyond the line and sometimes way, way beyond.
It was a stunning change from the Ostapenko we saw Sunday defeat defending US Open champion (and world No. 1) Iga Swiatek. In that match, she had 20 total unforced errors over three sets. In the first set against Gauff, Ostapenko had 15 unforced errors, and they cost her dearly.
By contrast, Gauff was all business. She took the first set against Ostapenko in just 20 minutes, losing just seven points across six games.
The second set played out differently, though the score was nearly as lopsided as the first. Ostapenko won her first game to tie the score 1-1, and continued to smash the ball and force Gauff to play defense. It seemed like the momentum was shifting when Ostapenko's next service game went long and both players traded advantages, but she couldn't close the deal and Gauff won. Ostapenko won the next game, but the match was already over. And judging by her face, she knew it.
— ESPN (@espn) September 5, 2023
After the match, Gauff praised Ostapenko for being such a tough competitor. She said she never felt comfortable, even after winning the first set, since Ostapenko's aggressive style makes her a comeback threat regardless of the score. Despite that, Gauff never appeared to be in trouble or out of her depth. She adapted her style to fit her opponent, which is exactly what a (future) champion does.
Gauff is having a summer to remember. She's 16-1 since Wimbledon, and with Swiatek out of the competition, she has a real chance to win her first career Grand Slam — especially if she keeps up this run of form.