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Gauff through to first US Open final after protest disrupts semi-final
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Coco Gauff after protestors disrupted her match (Manu Fernandez/AP)
Coco Gauff after protestors disrupted her match (Manu Fernandez/AP)

Coco Gauff is through to her first US Open final, but only after her last-four match against Karolina Muchova was suspended for more than 45 minutes when a protester glued his feet to the floor in the stands.

American teenager Gauff’s 6-4 7-5 victory was overshadowed by a small group of spectators wearing T-shirts bearing the words ‘end fossil fuels’ who began shouting, forcing play to be stopped.

Gauff and Czech 10th seed Muchova initially stayed on the court for about 10 minutes while security tried to deal with the situation.

The Arthur Ashe crowd at one point began chanting “kick them out” with the protesters apparently being difficult to shift, despite being surrounded by around 12 police officers.

It soon became apparent that while three of the protesters had been removed, a fourth had glued his bare feet to the concrete.

“Are they like talking to them or are they going to remove them?” Gauff asked chair umpire Alison Hughes and tournament referee Jake Garner.

She then spoke to her coach, Brad Gilbert, saying “they say they are negotiating, like it’s a hostage situation. What should I do?”.

Gilbert was then heard to shout at Garner: “This is a joke, Jake.”

Both players eventually left the court with Gauff leading 6-4 1-0. They returned at 8.50pm when the third protester had finally been removed and, after a warm-up, play resumed 50 minutes after the last point.

Speaking to ESPN, tournament director Stacey Allaster said: “As we witnessed we had environment protesters up in the loge area.

“There were three. Two were removed. They quietly left. When security got there they found one of the protesters had physically glued himself, his bare feet, to the cement floor.”

A statement from the USTA said: “Following the first game of the second set in the Gauff-Muchova match, play was halted due to a protest conducted by four spectators.

“Three of the four protesters were escorted out of the stadium without further incident. The fourth protester affixed their bare feet to the floor of the seating bowl.

“Due to the nature of this action, NYPD and medical personnel were needed in order to safely remove this individual from the stadium.

“The four protesters were taken into NYPD custody. In total, 49 minutes elapsed before play resumed.”

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