Climate change protesters disrupted the US Open women’s semifinal on Friday, causing a 45-minute delay after one of his bare feet stuck to the ground.
Wearing “End Fossil Fuels” T-shirts, they caused the game in the first semifinal between Coco Gauff and Karolina Muchova to be stopped when they started chanting “End Fossil Fuels.”
Three of the group were quickly ejected, but a fourth had his feet glued to the ground, leading to players being escorted off the field while New York police officers worked to free the protester’s feet.
After the break, crowd favorite Gauff secured a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Muchova to secure her place in Saturday’s final, her second Grand Slam final after last year’s French Open.
She will face either Aryna Sabalenka or her compatriot Madison Keys, who played in the last semifinal.
Afterwards, Gauff said she had predicted that there would be protests against climate change, but not until the finals this weekend.
She said: “This morning, I said to myself, I bet there will be a climate change protest in the final. I didn’t think it would be in the semifinals. When it happened I immediately said it was a protest. Something this morning told me it would happen this weekend.
“I treated it like a rain delay. The only thing that was harder was that we had to leave the field and the security guard said it could take five minutes or an hour.”
After the incident, the US Open said in a statement: “After the first game of the second set in the Gauff-Muchova match, play was suspended due to a protest by four protesters.
“Three of the four protesters were escorted from the stadium without further incident. The fourth protester secured his bare feet to the bottom of the seat. Due to the nature of this action, NYPD and medical personnel were required to safely remove this individual from this stadium. The four protesters were taken into New York police custody.”
Gauff was easily in control of the match and took a 5-1 lead before Muchova, who had struggled early on, eventually fought her way back into the fight, but the American took the set.
The disruption occurred just one game into the second set, leading to a lengthy delay, much to the chagrin of a booing crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The fight to restart play was far tougher, with Muchova threatening to cause an upset in front of a partisan crowd.
The game’s penultimate point was a 40-point rally that Gauff won, giving her a match point, which she duly converted.
https://www.standard.co.uk/sport/tennis/us-open-coco-gauff-karolina-muchova-b1105705.html US Open: Climate protesters cause 45-minute delay as Coco Gauff reaches US Open final