Aryna Sabalenka in desperate plea to US Open crowd ahead of Coco Gauff final

Aryna Sabalenka has pleaded with the US Open crowd as she prepares to face one of their own in the final. The second seed takes on Coco Gauff on Saturday night and she is hoping that some of the American fans will cheer her on against the home player.

Sabalenka and Gauff are both through to their respective second career Grand Slam finals. The teenager lost to Iga Swiatek at last year’s French Open while the Belarusian picked up her first Major trophy in Australia at the start of the season.

The 25-year-old has already achieved another milestone during this tournament as she will rise to No 1 in the first for the first time on Monday. But she will have a tough challenge in the final as she will likely be facing two obstacles – Gauff and the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd.

 “Of course I would prefer have someone else or crowd would be, like, a little bit probably like same to both players,” Sabalenka said of the final after facing another American on the main show court. The second seed defeated Madison Keys in a three-set semi-final on Thursday night and would be using the experience to help her against Gauff.

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She added: “But, I mean, today’s match I think gonna help me in the finals, because I mean, I’ll be fine with this support. I’ll be all right.” Although she had already faced an American on Arthur Ashe Stadium, Sabalenka still wanted to hear some fans in her corner as she issued a plea.

“I’ll still hoping, I’m still hoping that probably some of them will be supporting me. Will be just a little bit. Just sometimes, please. Please,” she laughed. Sabalenka also goes into the match with a losing 2-3 record against Gauff, though she defeated the 19-year-old in their only meeting this year.

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The Australian Open champion stormed through their match in Indian Wells, defeating Gauff 6-4 6-0. But Sabalenka said that her opponent was now a completely different player.”I mean, honestly I would say that she played much better than in that match, when was that, Indian Wells?” Sabalenka said.

“She improved a lot. So it’s a different player. We don’t like really thinking about that match.” Assessing Gauff’s game ahead of the final, she added: “She’s moving really well. She’s hungry. She kind of like has nothing to lose. She knows that crowd [is]  going to support her. I think that’s what makes her a really difficult opponent. Also serving really well.”

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