American teenager Coco Gauff reached her first US Open singles final by beating Karolina Muchova in a semi-final disrupted by climate protesters.
Gauff, 19, wrapped up a 6-4 7-5 win over Muchova and will face second seed Aryna Sabalenka in Saturday’s final.
Four protesters chanting for the end of fossil fuels had interrupted the Gauff-Muchova match for 49 minutes.
One man glued his feet to the floor on Arthur Ashe Stadium with some chants of “kick them out” towards the protesters.
Security escorted three out but it took longer to the remove the fourth. The United States Tennis Association said all four were in New York Police Department custody.
The drama was confined to the tennis court in the second semi-final where Australian Open champion Sabalenka dug deep to beat Madison Keys 0-6 7-6 (7-1) 7-6 (10-5) and prevent an all-American showpiece in New York.
It will be sixth seed Gauff’s second attempt to win a Grand Slam singles final after finishing runner-up to Poland’s Iga Swiatek at the 2022 French Open.
Gauff could not convert a match point when serving at 5-4, but broke Czech 10th seed Muchova to seal victory after winning a 40-shot rally to create the sixth opportunity.
Gauff raised her fist after clinching the win, signalling her defiance and fight, as the home crowd erupted.
After letting out another roar of celebration, she made a heart sign to the fans as a thank you for helping her get over the line.
Ultimately, the way Gauff finally secured victory was testament to her own resolve and a mental fortitude which she says has developed over a successful North American hard-court season.
“Some of those points it was so loud, I don’t know if my ears will be OK. Please be louder – this is crazy,” Gauff told the crowd in her on-court interview.
“I grew up watching this tournament, it feels so special. But the job is not done.”