The US Open women’s semi-finals were interrupted by climate change protesters on Friday, and one of them bonded his bare feet to the ground, resulting in a 45-minute delay.
They stopped play in the first semi-final between Coco Gauff and Karolina Muchova by yelling “end fossil fuels” while sporting T-shirts that read “End Fossil Fuels.”
The players were led off the court as New York police officers sought to rescue a fourth member of the group who had stuck his boots to the ground after being promptly removed from the game by three of the group.
Following the incident, audience favourite Gauff defeated Muchova 6-4, 7-5 to go to Saturday’s final, her second Grand Slam singles championship after losing to Iga Swiatek in straight sets at the French Open the previous year.
She will compete against Aryna Sabalenka in the final on Saturday after Sabalenka overcame a terrible start to overcome Madison Keys, a fellow countrywoman of Gauff, 0-6, 7-6, and 7-6.
Gauff claimed afterwards that she had foreseen a protest against climate change, but it wouldn’t happen until the weekend’s championship games.
She remarked: “This morning, I predict there will be a climate change protest at the championship. I didn’t anticipate it would appear in the semifinals.
As soon as it happened, I declared that it was a protest.
It was going to happen this weekend, something told me this morning.
I handled it like a delay in the rain.
We had to leave the court, and the security guard stated it would take five minutes or an hour.
That was the only thing that was harder.
“Play was halted due to a protest conducted by four protesters following the first game of the second set in the Gauff-Muchova match,” the US Open said in a statement after the incident.
Without additional incident, three of the four demonstrators were led outside the stadium.
The fourth protester attached their unclothed feet to the sitting bowl’s floor.
Due to the nature of this activity, the NYPD and medical staff were required to remove this person from this stadium in a secure manner.
The NYPD took possession of the four protesters.
However, home favourite Gauff ignored the interference to advance to her second Grand Slam final.
Muchova, who had battled early on, finally forced her way back into the match, but Gauff quickly took control of the match and raced into a 5-1 lead before the American sealed the set.
The disturbance occurred just one game into the second set, which resulted in the protracted delay, much to the displeasure of the booing crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
After play resumed, it became much more competitive as Muchova threatened to shock the spectators by pulling off an upset.
Gauff won a 40-point rally in the match’s penultimate point to earn a match point, which she successfully converted.