TennisReporters.net, the top 32 women: No. 5-1

Aryna Sabalenka
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

5 Jessica Pegula
If she is totally on fire, she can hit it, stroke after stroke. Her backhand is so consistent, hitting it crosscourt, in the middle, deep, and whaling it down the line. Her forehand can also be very solid, and she can also put it away at the net. However, she did have a very good year, but not spectacular. Yes, she beat a number of excellent players, but she lost in more than a few critical matches. Yes, she has been here for a long time, and two years ago, she started to play much better, but currently, while she is very, very good, but she has yet to reach into the Grand Slams final. She really has to, one way or another. Next year, if she finally wins a Slam, she has to serve harder, and also, with her forehand. It really will be a huge critical challenge.

4 Elena Rybakina

When she is really on, she can crush the ball, all over the place.She is quick, she is very fast, and she can read where  she is going. However, she plays a lot, and  in the first six months, she looked terrific, almost grabbing the Australia Open,  and then, she won Indian Wells and Rome. But after that, she began to slip. She did win a few fine wins, like when she beat with Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka, but she lost in some far, close matches to both of them. She is a solitary person, when she is hitting the ball, where she is going, and not deciding the right way. She did win the 2022 Wimbledon, and she was the outlaw, so if she can add with her second serve, and at the net, she can win another Slam, eventually, perhaps in 2024.

3 Coco Gauff
Last year, her forehand was upgrading, and her return was decent, but not great, yet. But in 2023, she began to climb, as her backhand was already phenomenal, but she had to change her forehand, and then, she really did. Now, she is not flawless yet, but she did win the 2023 US Open, snaring the third sets, when she had to, and she was just so rapt. She is still very young, and  off-court, she is very thoughtful. Some people have said that eventually, soon, she will become No. 1, and then she can win another more Slams. She might,  and maybe she will, but the realty is that Serena Williams have won 23 Grand Slams, and Venus — who is still playing — has won seven Grand Slams. Gauff has put together more than a few wins, and next year, she will be continue to her rising forehand.

2 Aryna Sabalenka

She did win the 2023 Australian Open, and she hit some colossal winners, with her husky forehand and her backhand, She can also attack, right after she returns, and she will  flat it out, down the line, or cross-court. She can last for a longtime, but other times, she loses what she is achievement.  But look, her serve is still decent, but not great, yet, when she is feeling it, then she can win so many matches, like when she won Madrid. The reality, though, that while she would go deep a lot, but she still cannot see where and when the bounce ball are going. Yes, she can win another Grand Slam next year, but currently, Iga Swiatek is better than she is, with her intense strokes. Plus, Sabalenka is still working with her serves, which she still can throw in a lot of double faulty. However, she is a hoot good, so she will adjust, and improve, even more.  

1 Iga Swiatek
She had another tremendous years, winning Roland Garros  and she grabbed Doha, Stuttgart,  Warsaw, Beijing, and the WTA Finals. She is not husky, but without a doubt, she is clearly the No. 1 right now. Her forehand and her backhand are strong, and her first serve is quite hard, and she can return with a number of winners. Since Ash Barty retired, two years ago, the Polish person waxed very fast, winning now four Grand Slams,  inclusion the 2022 U.S. Open. She totally values on the clay, being very patient, if she needs to, and also on the hardcourts, when she can slap the ball, until she wheres them down. The 23 Grand Slam champ Serena Williams, who is now retired, she knew all surfaces, winning on the hardcourts, on the clay, and also, on the grass.  She won so many Slams, but Swiatek has yet to win at the Aussie Open and Wimbledon.  Now it is time for her to do it, at least one of them. How about to start very early at Melbourne? She may not, but she will be checked in, peering, and intense. As she said: “Mental toughness is probably most important thing in tennis right now because everybody can play on the highest level. But the ones that are tough and that can handle the pressure are the biggest ones.”

Will the American women get better in 2024?

Coco Gauff

Next year, in 2024, there are at least five Americans players can win a huge event.

Obviously, Coco Gauff won the U.S. Open. The teenager played terrific in the summer, as her forehand had improved. Perhaps next year, she can be even better, when she returns, and she can slice it, even more.  Gauff  can certainly grab another Grand Slam.

When Jessica Pegula plays stellar, she can were down a lot of people.  She had some cool matches, side to side, and she hits the highly balls, very deep. However, at the Grand Slams, she can back off, rather than going for it. The good thing was in the last tournament at the WTA Finals, Pegula didn’t win, but at least she made it into the final, winning four matches in a row, beating her good friend, Gauff, in the semis. That was super impressive. However,  the now No. 1 Iga Swiatek crushed her, so, so fast.  

 As the former multi-champion Martina  Navratilova, said, “That was Iga showing that, at her best, she is better than anybody. I mean, in difficult conditions, she just blew right through everybody. She gets into the points better and knows how to close the deal…Now I think maybe Gauff will pass Sabalenka for No.2. But I don’t know if either one of them can get past Iga if she has a good offseason, stays healthy, stays fresh.”

The next stage for the 29-year-old Pegula can finally reach into the semis at the Slams. Somehow, someway. She plays a tremendous amount, but this time, she should practice more, and change it up, rather than just flying each week.

Madison Keys is up and down, nailing a bunch of winners, or she collapses. She has been hurt a lot, even though she has gone vast at the three Slams, especially at the U.S. Open, when she reached the semis, and she was playing stunning. However, in the semis against Aryna Sabalenka, she was so close in the third tiebreaker, and then, she missed some critical error. She was so disappointed. However, if she can play more smart, on the court, and throw in some different spin, then she will have a shot to go bottomless again.

It was pretty surprising that Emma Navarro is now ranked No. 32, given that one year ago, she was No. 148. Talk about her strokes. She is very strong, and muscular, but the 22-year-old can hit it to  short. Navarro’s second serve is soft, yet she will try to remedy each year. If she wants to reach into the top 10 next year, that will mean she can continue to insert with her game.

Sofia Kenin won the 2020 Australian Open, and then the next year, she eventually stranded to collapse. She was outside of the top 100, but for a few years, yet  in 2023, she became to be serious, and  more proper, during the matches. She did beat Navarro in San Diego in the semis in September, which was a very close match. She didn’t win it, but she almost beat Barbora Krejcikova 6-4 in the third set. Kenin still has more work to do, but she also can bash on the lines, into the corners. The crazy thing was when she started in 2023, she was ranked No. 227, but now she is No. 33. What a jump. Yes, she can over hit it, and she can go to early, but when you win a Grand Slam, then she really knew what to do.

Next year, if she continues to be sold, each month, she will have another chance to go endless, especially at the 2024 Aussie Open. Something wonderful.

WTA Finals: Elena Rybakina vs. Aryna Sabalenka

Elena Rybakina

There should be a terrific match, when the No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka will face against Elena Rybakina. Their match is suspended due to rain and will restart today with Sabalenka ahead 6-2, 3-5.

They are tied 1-1, so whoever wins, she will get into the semis. Both of them can hammer their forehand and their backhand, and they can also leap on the second serve. Sabalenka did lose against the American, Jessica Pegula, because while she did nail some fine shots, but she did not serve well enough. Sabalenka can screech, and she can nail it off the court, and put it away. However, sometimes she can forget, where she is hitting the ball, exactly, which way to go?

She will have to, but so will be Rybakina, a real competitor. She doesn’t chop it much, but she can also angle it. Her backhand is super solid, but her forehand is pretty hard, yet she can miss it when she cannot control it.

This year, they have played each other three times, with Sabalenka beating Rybakina 6-4 in the final at the Australian Open. There was joy, and also, sad. However, Rybakina beat her twice in a row, winning Indian Wells, and also, recently, she knocked her down in Beijing. As she said: “I think this year I was more consistent, especially in the first part of the year. In the second part was a bit unlucky with the health issues, some sickness. Overall I think I improved a lot.”

The Kazakhstan  won the 2022 Wimbledon, so she can rise up when she is comfortable. This time, in Cancun, Rybakina will nail it in the corners and beat Sabalenka 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

That was a solid match on Wednesday when Ons Jabeur beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-4, 6-3. In her first match, she couldn’t hit the ball anywhere, and she lost immediately, but today, she brought in with her terrific strokes. Now she is back again, so on Friday, she will be there, pushing it hard, and determining.

How about when Iga Swiatek beats Coco Gauff 6-0, 7-5? Yes, Swiatek can play amazing, especially in the corners, but even though she has had some excellent matches, especially when she won the US Open, but currently, Gauff is still working to improve her up and down forehand. But she will, year after year. Swiatek has won two matches, and she will play in the semis, against… who knows?

In the second match, Jessica Pegula will play Maria Sakkari. Pegula has won two matches, while Sakkari is eliminated. The match, though, should be engaging. What, why and who?

ATP
Both Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev both won in Paris and it looks like that they will qualify in the ATP Finals in Turin. … Tommy Paul lost, so he is now eliminated in the ATP Finals. Casper Ruud is also gone, but Holger Rune is still there, but he has to go very deep to get into the top eight. Rune has to defend1,000 points. Ouch.

Coco Gauff against Iga Swiatek in Cancun

Coco Gauff
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Coco Gauff has another change to beat the No. 2  Iga Swiatek, but she will have to out-hit her, backhand to backhand. Swiatek really likes to go cross-court, and then she has a chance, to crack it down the line, usually, she will do it. Gauff really runs fast, and she can also hammer her backhand. Last year, her forehand could be up and down, but now, she is much more consistent, and deeper in the corners. The Polish person Swiatek had a  terrific first serve, and she can also attack with her return, but there were times that she missed some critical shots.

They have played each other nine times, when Swiatek won it won eight times. The American Gauff has to play tremendous to beat her again.
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“She’s definitely one of the best players ever and in our generation, too,” Gauff said. “I mean, it’s something that I have to do better against her. The more I can play against her, the more I can get better. Hopefully, for this time I would love to get a W on the head-to-head. We could potentially play for our second time if we both keep doing well. At this rate, we probably will have the most matches ever at the end of our careers.”

Oh really? They must already be thinking about it. In the WTA Finals Cancun, it will be super tight. Gauff does have at the net, and while Swiatek has a more consistent forehand. However, at least today, the American will snag it 4-6, 7-5, 6-4.

Neither Ons Jabeur or Marketa Vondrousova played well in the first round when they lost, but this time one of them will show up and play much more harmonious. When she is locked in, Jabeur, can move it around, all atop on the place. She can chuck in some fine drop shots, and also, she can slice it. But at times, her shots are two short.

Vondrousova  looked pretty good in the first set, but in the second set , Swiatek scrub her out. She can hit hard off both sides, and she is quick, but however, she can fall down, mentally. The Czech can look absurd when she is on, but when she is not, she sails. Really, though, Vondrousova, can re-ship it, and in the match, she will win it 7-5, 6-3.

MEN
That was surprising when Roman Safiullin beat Carlos Alcaraz  6-3, 6-4 in Paris. He hit some prime  backhands. Now the chance that Alcaraz will finish the No. 1 would be a stunner….
Taylor Fritz  withdrew due to his injury. He may not make into the ATP Final now, but he will have to wait in see…

Hubert Hurkacz  might be the guy, depending his results. He has had a fine fall…

Tommy Paul still has a shot, but he has to win Paris. His match was a marathon, so to do it, day after day, that would be incredible.

Sabalenka: “I think the best season in my life so far”

Aryna Sabalenka
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Jessica Pegula finally played terrific at the WTA Finals, beating the intense player, Elena Rybakina in two sets. However, on Tuesday she has to face against the No. 1, Aryna Sabalenka, who crushed Maria Sakkari.

They have played each other five times, and Sabalenka beat her four times, mostly on the clay, but at this tournament last year, she beat her 6-3, 7-5 on the hard courts. The Belarussian also really likes on the hard courts, winning the Australian Open. Her forehand and her backhand are massive, and her return is super aggressive. However, she can get frustrated on the court, over hitting the ball, and not coming into the net. She can be a brilliant player, but also, she can check out in the third set, occasionally.

Pegula believes that when she can go for it, and also to risk it, rather than just to put it on play, then she can actually grab a lot of winners. Years ago, she was decent, but she wasn’t been able to out-hit against the top players. Now she is, and to win this match, she has to change it up more, and push her into the wall.

Sabalenka knows that she has to be patient, and to jump it when she is returning. As she said, two days ago: “It’s just super great season, I think the best season in my life so far. Hopefully this is just the beginning: with every year I’ll play better and better. I use this year as a motivation for me to keep working hard, to keep pushing, and see where is my limit are. ”
Sabalenka will make some odd error, but towards at the end, she will hit some massive first sets and she will win it 4-6, 6-3, 6-3

Surpassingly, Rybakina did now play well enough on Sunday against Pegula, when she lost. Yes, the American was so consistent, but the 2022 Wimbledon champ has had a solid year, but she only won one ever, in Rome. She certainly has beaten all the top players, but her forehand can be spotty. The Russian Rybakina is a huge hitter, and she can return pretty well, but if she wants to win another huge event, then she has to raise quickly.

Sakkari is one of the best rallies, hitting hour after hour. She can be so steady, but she plays all the time, and in the fall, she looks very tired. Yes, she does want to show that she is still there, in the matches, but she is not hitting the ball deep enough, which is why Rybakina will win the match 6-4, 6-1.

Notes: the women and men

On Monday, two of the former champs, Coco Gauff and Iga Swiatek, won easily, so they are in it.

In Paris, Taylor Fritz won a match, and he said that his body is so-so. If he wins a couple matches, then he has a solid chance to play in the ATP Finals. Or maybe not:

“It’s something that’s been bothering me for a little bit… I didn’t think it was anything too bad going in [to this match], but one where I slid out and sliced that forehand, I felt like I did something that I had never done to it before,” said Fritz. “Like maybe I tore something or pulled it. So I’m going to have to get it checked out and see what’s going on.”

The other American, Tommy Paul, won a marathon, beating Richard Gasquet 0-6, 6-2, 7-6(6). He has to win the tournament to qualify, but it is almost impossible. But at least he will try…

He may be ranked No. 7. but last year in Paris, Holger Rune won it, but now he is defending 1,000 points. He does have a chance to qualify, but he has to go very deep to do it again. He has not played very well since Wimbledon, so he is going to have to recover, immediately. Rune is only 20-years-old, so over the next couple years he will get better, here and there, but he has to think about it all of the time. They all must do.

Coco Gauff: ‘A weight lifted and I’m able to play more freer’

Coco Gauff

Will Coco Gauff  win match after match, as the American is so much better than she used to be. The 19-year-old might lose in China, but she did beat Veronika Kudermetova  7-6, 6-2, and the Russian was playing terrific, but in the second set, she looked tired. However, the American has improved her forehand, a lot, and she also has begun her return, much harder. The 2023 U.S. Open champion is smarter, when she is playing. She is rising, fast.

“I do think I feel more confident. I think having that win makes you more confident in these moments,” she said. “Especially the way the US Open went for me, a lot of three-set matches, a lot of tough moments.  I think it’s way more pressure in the Grand Slam than a 1000, even though there’s still pressure, but it’s just less. I’m able to handle these emotions more because of that experience.  Honestly, I do feel more confident stepping on court. Plus the way I kind of started on the scene, a lot of people wanted that for me and expected that from me. I feel like now it’s a little bit of a weight lifted and I’m able to play more freer, focus on the long-term and how to be able to set myself up to win even more.”

The No. 3 Gauff just beat Maria Sakkari 6-4, 6-2, another very good player, which means that she is so steady. She is terrific at the net, and she is very fast, running. She hasn’t lost since Montreal, so if she can beat the former No. 1 Iga Swiatek in the semis in Beijing, China, then she will continue to be on the blaze.

How about Swiatek, who when she plays, and she is shut in, she can beat anyone, on the clay and the hardcourts.  She did win Poland, in July, but after that she did not win a title, losing against Gauff in Cincinnati. She has beaten her four times, yet Gauff out-hit her at the end. Both her forehand and her backhand are so strong, and her return is very aggressive, but the No. 2 can forget what she is thinking about herself. However, off court, she is more calm.

“I just kind of played what I felt I needed to and what I felt was right at the moment. Yeah, well, for sure the confidence level got higher when I just saw that I’m in control,” she said.

The Italian Jannik Sinner  won Beijing,China, beating the two Grand Slam players with Carlos Alcaraz  and Daniil Medvedev. Not many people can do that, but Sinner continues to remedy all around. The 22-year-old has lost to the very good players, which were close, but he couldn’t decide how to process. At the U.S. Open, he played against  Alexander Zverev in the fourth round, and he was pretty close, but in the fifth set, he over hit it. However, he was not  to sad, as last month, he won Toronto, the ATP 1000. He was ready to rumble, once again.

“I’m more proud about how I improved the level this year, mentally especially. I felt like or I feel that I’m much stronger,” he said. “Also physically I know that I have to work a lot, so this is an aspect where we are going to push a lot in end of the year, especially for the next year then.  But I felt like I was playing really consistent tennis throughout the whole year.”

NOTES
The WTA Finals is now set with Aryna Sabalenka, Swiatek, Gauff, Elena Rybakina, Jessica Pegula,  Marketa Vondrousova, Ons Jabeur and Karolina Muchova. They will play in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of October.

In Shanghai, the ATP 1000, the odd Alexander Zverev lost against Roman Safiullin, who is playing well, but the German looks TIRED. Take a week off and recover…Three of the men won including Ben Shelton, Sebastian Korda and Christopher Eubanks. Will they stay during the weekend?

Kudermetova: ‘It was not an easy time for me … but now really happy’

Veronika Kudermetova

The Russian Veronika Kudermetova won a tournament at the Toray Pan Pacific Open, cracking over Jessica Pegula 7-5, 6-1. She has had some fine days, but there are also some negative events. Perhaps now, that each week, she will be more intense, on the court.

For example, she beat the 2023 US Open Coco Gauff  in Doha in February in the quarters, and then the four time champ  Iga Swiatek smoked her 6-0, 6-1, fast. Then in the semis at Madrid, the Polish person, she smashed her 6-1, 6-1. Then it looked like that Kudermetova was panicking. Yes, she can mash the ball, both sides, but then, she can throw in some many strange errors.  After on the grass,  and she was decent, but not great, and then in the next five tournaments, she lost very early. However, last week, she rose up, finally stopping Swiatek 6-2, 2-6, 6-4. Right after that, she upset the No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka 7-6, 6-7, 6-3. That was almost a miracle.

”I’m really happy because before, it was not an easy time for me, it was really tough moments,” Kudermetova said. “Now I’m really happy and I have a lot of motivation for the next weeks.”

They are playing in the Beijing Open, and while it  is not easy to play great again, she will battle. Sabalenka has had a interesting year, as she has improved her serve, and she is more solid. However, she does not like to get up to the net in the singles, and maybe she should, and make some different shots. Of course her forehand and her backhand are terrific, and her return is spot on. However, she has not won an event since Madrid during May, and while she has gone deep a lot, she can also be confused. In the final the U.S. Open, she look pretty darn good, but in the third set, she went down, and she lost versus Gauff 6-2, 3-6, 6-2. However, she wants to be motivate.

“I’m a world No. 1 right now, but it’s not just about become world No. 1, I think it’s about finish the year as world No. 1 and stay there as long as you can,” Sabalenka said. “It was good that I was able to achieve this goal, but there is another goal. I’m super motivated right now.  My biggest takeaway was that I need to learn how to finish the points on the net. We worked a lot on my volley game. [In the U.S. Open final]  I got over-emotion there. I wasn’t controlling myself. I was thinking all over the place in that second set. So, yeah, that’s was the biggest takeaway.  I have to, no matter what, stick to the plan and just do what I have to do on court, just kind of like shut down all those thoughts.  Also, it’s not like I don’t know how to play volleys. I used to play doubles a lot. Just to be brave to go there, you know? We worked a lot after US Open on that. I took couple of days off just to switch off and forgot about tennis because it was a really tough, tough loss for me. It was super emotional. Yeah, took couple of days off, then I start working again.”

There she is, motivation. In the first round, she just destroyed the American, Sofia Kenin. Maybe she is ready to take down everyone in China, but almost all the players are there.  Ons Jabeur just won the Ningbo Open, in China. So now she is happy again. Many people think that the 16-year-old  Mirra Andreeva of Russia is darn good, as she just upset  Barbora Krejcikova, and excellent player. In another year, if she is healthy, then she might be in the top 30 and then we will know how good she is.

 It did take Gauff a couple years to improve her forehand and her return, and currently, she are better now. She could win China, as long as she can snap the lines.

The top 10: the women after the US Open

Karolina Muchova

Here is my list of the women with the biggest impact from the US Open.

1. Coco Gauff
When it started, it looked like she had a chance to win her first Grand Slam, but she had to wait over seven matches. She is only 19-years-old, but she knew that if she played really well, especially with her new, very good forehand, then she could beat anyone. That she did, when her  backhand was terrific, her first serve was even harder, and of course, at the net, she could put it away. Her confidence is so high, that soon enough, if she is healthy, then she can become No. 1. A new, fantastic player.

2. Aryna Sabalenka
Yes, she is No. 1, and she has had a fine year, but in the third set in the final, she made so many errors, and she did not mix it up, more. Yes, she is a massive hitter, with her powerful backhand and her forehand, but at times, her serve can be mediocre, and at the net, she is OK, but she needs to improve it. She did win the 2023 Aussie Open, and perhaps she will recover in the fall, yet she could be frustrated again. It is all about her direction.

3. Karolina Muchova
The Czech looked wonderfully, all the way into the semis, and during the first and the second set, she was pretty close against Gauff, but then, she pushed back and she made some crazy error. On the court, she can be patient and smart, but then she forgets what she is doing, and then she panics. Really though, she is a fine player, but the older you get, she has to add some better shots. She only has won just one title, Seoul, in 2019. Maybe she can win another title during the tough fall.

4. Madison Keys
She looked great in four matches, then right at the end against Sabalenka, she collapsed in the third set tiebreaker. Of course she can crush the ball, with her hard forehand and her backhand, but she still can be concert, and then she will over-hit it. She has gone deep many times, and off the court, she seems to be intelligent, but the only way to win a Slam for the first time has to add something new, and be much more CALM.

5. Jelena Ostapenko
She is just so hard to figure out. She played so well and she crushed Iga Swiatek and then the next match against Gauff, she made so many errors, and it ended, quickly. She is one of the biggest hitters, but she is also somewhat slow, and she doesn’t be patient enough. That is how she is, maybe for ever.

6. Marketa Vondrousova
The great thing is that she won the 2023 Wimbledon, and she played as well as she can.  The other Czech has gone deep at another various events, and she has also taken down a number of darn good players. However, in the quarters against Keys, she did not play at all. Yes, the American played stellar, but Vondrousova was second-class, and maybe worse. Hopefully, she can forget that she was way down, and if she does that, she can stay in the top 10 for a long time.

7. Sorana Cirstea
At the beginning this year, it looked like that she has become more aggressive, and push herself into the het, and also, to go for it much early. The 33-year-old  has around for 17 years at the WTA Tour, so she was always very decent, but not fantastic. But now, in the summer and at the U.S. Open, she looked so much better, on court. Maybe in 2024 she will finally reach the top 10. That would be a stunner.

8. Qinwen Zheng
She is only 20-years-old, so clearly she is already good, reaching the quarters,  and beating Ons Jabeur.  It will take the Chinese to improve a lot, and she knows that, but if she can commit it, then she will continue to take down the good players. However, she has to leap higher.

9. Carolina Wozniacki
Was it surprising that the former No. 1 won a couple matches and she looked pretty good, but in the third set against Gauff, she could not out hitter her, forehand versus forehand. Her backhand has always been great, and she can run fast, almost forever, but her forehand and at the net were good, but not sublime. However, she is a little bit better, so moving forward, maybe she will gradual wax.

10. Xinyu Wang
The young 21-year-old player really likes to play the doubles, but in the singles, she can be interesting. She returns very well, and at the net, too, but in the back courts, she can be proper, but she does hit the ball even harder.  She needs to be more gutsy.

US Open pick: women’s final

Aryna Sabalenka
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Coco Gauff over Aryna Sabalenka
The last time that the American women won at the U.S. Open was  Sofia Kenin, who won it. She was spectacular. However, she started to slip, and she almost disappeared, but on Saturday, and other American, Coco Gauff, will have a chance to win a Grand Slam for the first time. Without a doubt, she has a very good chance to grab it. However, she has to beat the soon to be the No. 1, Aryna Sabalenka, who is a huge hitter, side to side. She almost lost in the semis against Madison Keys, but she continues to smash her forehand and her backhand, and she won it, 0-6, 7-6 (1), 7-6 (10-5) . Yes, she was satisfied, but she is going to have to play better, almost each point, because the 19-year-old Gauff has improved her forehand and with her return. Yes, the Floridian is rising, each month, but she has only won five titles, which is good, but if you look at the great Serena Williams,  she was only 18-years-old, she won the 1999 US Open. Then, she won 73 titles. Darn, good, huh?

In the semis on Thursday, Gauff edged Karolina Muchova 6-4, 7-5. Yes, she missed some odd errors, but she managed to  be more congruent, in the end. Now, can she do it against the Belarusian Sabalenka? She shore can, as they have played each other five times, and Gauff has won it three times. However at the Indian Wells in March in the quarters, Sabalenka beat here 6-4, 6-0. As she said: “I honestly don’t like to think about that match. From that match to the current one she improved a lot and she will be a different player. I think I should concentrate and prepare for another fight.” 

Yes, it was a bad day for Gauff, but both of them are thinking about it, on the hardcourts, and how she should decide exactly what to do? Does she  attach early? Should you be patient, until she can see that  touch the lines, very hard? Can you chip it, or slice it? Last year in Toronto,  Gauff beat Sabalenka 7-6 (4) in the third set. Obviously, it was wildly close, but Sabalenka finally won a Grand Slam when she won the 2023 Australian Open. Both of them are so much more mature, on court.

It is true on Saturday, there will be some amazing rallies, but in the third set, Gauff will dig deep and win the 2023 U.S. Open 3-6, 6-2, 7-5. Another new Grand Slam champion.

US Open picks: women’s semifinals

Coco Gauff
Mel Taam/MALTphoto

Coco Gauff over Karolina Muchova

This should be a very tight match, as the American is playing as well as she has over the past two months. Rapidly, Gauff improved her forehand, her first serve, and her return. After she lost against her good friend, Jessica Pegula , 7-5 in the third set, she continued to focus, and then,  she rose.

Yes, she is on the blaze, but she still has to understand what she has to do, point to point. The great Serena Williams did, and that is why she has won 23 Grand Slams. Gauff has won five titles, but no Slams, yet. It is time to try, again.

Believe it or not, in Cincinnati, in the final, Gauff beat  Muchova 6-3, 6-4. It was some what close, but the Czech missed a bunch of easy shots. However, at least she made the final at Roland Garros, and she nearly beat Iga Swiatek, but she lost  6-4 in the third. Close, but no cigar.

She has only won one title, a small place, so while she is much more suitable, she can lose control.
Because of that, deep in the third set,  Gauff will hit a few gigantic winner and she will win 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.

Madison Keys over Aryna Sabalenka

At Wimbledon in the quarters, the Belarus took her down,  somewhat easily 6-2, 6-4. She will attack early, and with her forehand and her backhand, she will rein. Yes, the new No. 1 can still throw in a decent amount double faults, but it is a lot better now, this year.

Keys knows that if she wants to beat her, she has to jump her early, and while the American can assault her immediately, it also is that when she is running, side to side, and she hits it, then she will try to hit it on the lines. Keys  has gone deep before, reaching the final the 2017 U.S. Open, and she lost against Sloane Stephens, but she did have a terrific event. As she said: “I think I just find another gear when it comes to Slams. Part of it is that I put a little bit more pressure on myself, which is a good thing and also a bad thing sometimes. But I’ve just peaked at the right time. I haven’t had too many disappointing exits at Slams.”

Can she beat  Sabalenka on Thursday night?  I would say yes, a real upset, winning it  2-6, 6-4, 6-4.