Protesters have halted play during the US Open women’s semi-final with American Coco Gauff eventually defeating Czech Karolina Muchova after a lengthy delay.
With Gauff up a set and holding serve to open the second, a disturbance erupted in the upper bowl of Arthur Ashe Stadium as shouting began, disrupting play.
Photographs of the scene showed three protesters wearing shirts with the slogan, “End Fossil Fuels”.
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One protester glued his bare feet to the concrete floor.
As players looked into the stands, security flooded into the section around the disturbance.
Television coverage showed more than a dozen law enforcement officers in the section.
Two of the activists were escorted out within several minutes, but it took longer to remove the person who stuck his feet to the ground.
Gauff sat on her sideline bench for a bit during the break in the match, eating fruit out of a plastic container, before then getting some tennis balls and hitting a few practice serves. Muchova was briefly visited by a trainer during the interruption.
Later, both players headed toward the locker room as the delay continued. Gauff sat on a treadmill, a towel draped over her lap, while chatting with members of her team.
After over 40 minutes of waiting, play eventually resumed with Gauff going on to seal the 6-4 7-5 victory.
The victory was the 11th in a row for Gauff and the 17th in her past 18 matches, a run that began after a first-round exit at Wimbledon in July.
The streak includes the two biggest titles of Gauff’s career – and needs just one more win to get an even more important championship.
She was the runner-up at the 2022 French Open and now will try to claim her first grand slam title.
“Some of those points, it was so loud, and I don’t know if my ears are going to be OK,” said Gauff, a 19-year-old from Florida who is the first American teenager to make it to the title match in New York since Serena Williams in 2001.
“I grew up watching this tournament so much, so it means a lot to be in the final. A lot to celebrate,” Gauff said. “But the job is not done, so hopefully you can back me on Saturday.”
The protest was the latest in a recent series of demonstrations at sporting events — and tennis, in particular — related to the use of fossil fuels.
At Wimbledon in July, two matches were interrupted when environmental activists jumped out of the stands at Court 18 and scattered orange confetti on the grass.
At a US Open tune-up tournament in Washington last month, about a dozen people were asked to leave the site after chanting and displaying signs protesting the use of fossil fuels.
– With AP
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