Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Coco Goff enters US Open semifinals

Coco Goff saluted fans in every direction of Arthur Ashe Stadium on Tuesday, thanking them for their support with one of the easiest, but most important victories of her young career. She then spread her arms and, with a big smile, waved her fingers upwards as if asking for some more love.

Goff, 19, now needs a little more support to make his dream come true. With two more wins at this US Open — four sets — Goff will clinch her first major singles title, and for now she’s handling the pressure, if she notices it, with the calm composure of a multiple-time champion.

“I told myself, ‘Man, I’ve got to enjoy this,'” she said. “I’m having a lot of fun doing it. I should not think about results. I live a very lucky life, I am very blessed. I don’t want to take it for granted.

Success leads to smiles and no. No. 6 seed Goff is playing some of his best tennis, taking full advantage of a favorable draw to shoot into the US Open semifinals for the first time.

Under the midday sun on Tuesday, she defeated Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko 6-0, 6-2 to become the first American teenager to reach the US Open semifinals since Serena Williams in 2001.

Williams was also 19 that year. She made it to the finals where she lost to her older sister Venus Williams. Serena Williams had already won the US Open in 1999 and eventually won 23 major singles titles to claim the most in tennis history.

“She’s my idol,” Goff said of Serena Williams, “If you’d told me when I was younger, I think I’d be in the same position as her. I still try not to think too much about it, because I don’t want to make my head too big or stress.” Don’t want to add, but it’s a sweet moment to have that position with her.

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Karolina Muchova will face 10th seed Karolina Muchova in her semi-final after beating 30th seed Sorana Cirstia 6-0, 6-3 in the quarterfinals on Tuesday night.

Kauff’s recent experience against Muchova in the final of the Western & Southern Open in Ohio last month, their only career meeting, helped make her path to the finals, and her first Grand Slam title, perhaps the most consistent. She has already skipped a future quarter-final against top seed Ika Sviatek after Ostapenko upset her in Sunday night’s match.

When Ostapenko returned to play 36 hours later with court temperatures in Ash above 90 degrees, she was no match for Goff. Attempting to hit aggressive winners from the start, Ostapenko committed 36 unforced errors, while Coff played a patient, mature game that allowed her flustered opponent to get in on her own.

After a disappointing first-round loss at Wimbledon, Goff continued her success with a draw at Queen’s, winning tournaments in Washington, DC and Mason, Ohio. Former World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki – No. She has defeated three unseeded players, including No. 32 Elise Mertens and No. 20 Ostapenko. Her biggest test will be No. 2 Arina Sabalenka if they both reach the final.

Coff couldn’t watch Ostapenko sweep Svitek out of the way on Sunday night because of a cable TV dispute with his hotel provider. But when she looked at her score, she knew that was the biggest obstacle to success.

“I was shocked,” Goff said. “But whether I’m playing her or Jelena, I know I want to go out there and play tennis.”

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Ostapenko was upset that she had to play so early after a three-set win over Svidek. He said he got back to his hotel in Manhattan around 2 a.m. Monday and didn’t sleep until 5 a.m., adrenaline rushing.

He said he was told after his match that his quarterfinal against Goff would be at night, and given Goff’s popularity, it was reasonable to assume they would be given that prime time slot. Instead, tournament organizers put them on court at noon, the first singles match of the day. Following the Cirstea-Muchova match, Frances Tiafoe and Ben Shelton were replaced by two popular rising Americans on stage at Ashe for the night.

“When I saw the schedule I was a little surprised,” Ostapenko said, “and not in a good way.”

Ostapenko said she had trouble in the sun, and even though she won only two games and held serve only once, more was actually expected of Goff. But her real gripe was in planning.

“I think it’s a little crazy,” he said.

In a post-match news conference, Goff spoke eloquently about her place in tennis, dealing with pressure, growing up famous and learning from the example of her grandmother, Yvonne Lee Odom, who co-founded Seacrest High School in Delray Beach, Fla. 1961.

“She always reminds me that I’m a person first instead of an athlete,” Goff said.

His athletic side mustered all his talent, swagger and intelligence to set new records at the US Open. She reached the final of the 2022 French Open, where she lost to Svidek, but it was her own tournament where the fans – and the odds – made her a new favorite.

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He was delighted with the support of fans who came to this year’s US Open in record numbers, in part to see him. Even after five wins she never shied away from the spotlight and never failed to smile.

When he was younger, Goff’s dreams revolved around winning tournaments like the US Open. But in those dreams, she never saw fans, autograph seekers, or anyone else. Just a cup.

In retrospect, it’s people like those in Ashe on Tuesday who cheered her forward and said she inspired them, making the experience even better.

“I always warm to the crowd and warm to the people,” he said, “because the conversations I’ve had have made me feel like the best thing I’ve ever done in this life.”

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