Jelena Ostapenko has blamed the scheduling at the US Open after her quarter-final capitulation against Coco Gauff in New York. The American sixth seed Gauff kept her hopes of claiming a maiden grand slam title alive with a convincing 6-0 6-2 thrashing of the Latvian, who had sent World No.1 Iga Swiatek packing in her previous match.
Less than 48 hours after that momentous win against Swiatek though, Ostapenko failed to show any of the destructive hitting that saw her bundle the defending champion out of the tournament. Gauff converted six of her seven break points and dropped serve just once during a steamy 67-minute match on a sweltering Arthur Ashe Stadium court, where temperatures rose above 32 degrees.
'NOT ABOUT TENNIS: Alex de Minaur's shock confession after loss
It was an implosion of epic proportions from Ostapenko, who couldn't muster any of the form that saw her topple Swiatek the previous round. The Latvian finished the match with a staggering 36 unforced errors - compared to 14 for Gauff - in a display described as "horrendous" by many fans.
Gauff 6-0, 5-2, will serve for the match.
Even for a bad Ostapenko day, this is absolutely horrendous from the former Roland Garros champ.
Not the ideal way to start the QFs...
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) September 5, 2023
Ostapenko beating the world number 1 and then immediately losing a set 0-6 is the most Ostapenko thing ever. Love it. 😂
— Scott Barclay (@BarclayCard18) September 5, 2023
Ostapenko at her awful worst in that first set. Needs to find her brilliant best quickly #USOpen
— Tolga Akdeniz (@tkakdeniz_) September 5, 2023
Errors are scattered all over the place, it’s a mess 🤦🏾
— Omamuzo (@MamZees) September 5, 2023
Yeah, there were no fireworks. Ostapenko was awful. 😬
— Siobhan 🇬🇬 (@slinehan1) September 5, 2023
Bottom line Ostapenko was absolutely horrible. Gauff sat back and watched O self destruct.
— 🤷🏻♀️ (@npr40) September 5, 2023
What a copitulation from Ostapenko. Chaotic. Still think she's great though.
— Anne-Marie Batson (@AnnemarieBatson) September 5, 2023
Jelena Ostapenko hits out at 'crazy' US Open schedule
Ostapenko's previous match against Swiatek finished in the early hours of Sunday morning in New York, while her quarter-final showdown with Gauff was played at midday on Tuesday at Flushing Meadows. It left the Latvian fuming after the match after blasting the "crazy" scheduling - with Gauff playing her fourth round match earlier than the Latvian.
“Today was not really good match from me,” Ostapenko said. “I think it’s really hard to recover from those night matches, because after beating World No. 1 (Swiatek), I went to sleep at, like, 5:00 in the morning.
“You sleep for, I don’t know, maybe like seven, eight hours, but you completely don’t recover. Yesterday the whole day I felt very low energy. I thought today I was going to wake up and feel better. But honestly, I didn’t really feel much better.”
“I think it’s a little bit crazy. If I play a match, a late-night session, then I suppose in one day I have to play at least at the same time or later on, because you don’t really have much time to recover.”
Coco Gauff's impressive run continues
For Gauff, the win continues an incredible run of form that included hardcourt titles in Washington and Cincinnati. "It feels great, so happy," Gauff said during her on-court interview.
"Last year I lost in the quarter-final stage and I wanted to do better this year. I am happy and ready to get back to work for the next one."
The sixth seed was in control from the start and showed excellent court coverage and precision hitting from the baseline, constantly finding the corners to leave Ostapenko with little hope. The brutal onslaught from Gauff saw the local favourite take the opening set in just 20 minutes, with Ostapenko only managing to win seven points.
Former French Open champion Ostapenko, playing in her first US Open quarter-final, finally got on the board with a break to level the second set at 1-1 but Gauff never wavered and broke back for a 2-1 lead with a backhand crosscourt winner. Ostapenko held serve for the first time 49 minutes into the match but 19-year-old Gauff went up a double break for a 5-2 lead. She then fell behind 0-30 when serving for the match but recovered to book her place in the last-four with some style.
Gauff's win was sweet revenge for a defeat to Ostapenko at the Australian Open earlier in the year that left the 19-year-old in tears. "I know the game she plays, she has ability to come back no matter the scoreline, so I was just really trying to get every point, trying to play every ball in," said Gauff.
"It's really tough against her because you can't really be aggressive, so I was trying my best to be aggressive when I could and most of the time I was just trying to get the ball deep."
Gauff becomes the youngest American to reach the US Open semi-finals since Serena Williams in 2001. She will next face the winner of the quarter-final between Czech 10th seed and French Open finalist Karolina Muchova and Romanian 30th seed Sorana Cirstea.
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.