By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Tuesday, September 5, 2023
NEW YORK—Coco Gauff defused Jelena Ostapenko’s prodigious power, 6-0, 6-2, in today’s US Open quarterfinal smackdown.
Afterward, Ostapenko shaded schedule makers for the day-time start following her electrifying evening upset of Iga Swiatek.
The 20th-seeded Ostapenko called today’s noon start time “crazy scheduling” following her three-set dethroning of defending champion Swiatek on Sunday night. Ostapenko said the quick turnaround time did not give her enough rest and recovery to prepare for the red-hot Gauff.
“I didn’t really feel physically very tired, but I felt like I didn’t really recover from that night,” Ostapenko said after absorbing a 67-minute thrashing. “Because as I said, I got back to the hotel around, like, 2:00 a.m. and even I tried to go to sleep at 3:00 in the morning but I had all this adrenaline and it was impossible to fall asleep.
“Then when you go to sleep at 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning, the whole day where you need a few days just to recover. I think it’s a little bit crazy.”
Compounding Ostapenko’s criticism: she complained she was told after her upset of world No. 1 Swiatek that her quarterfinal against Gauff would be played beneath the bright lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium at night.
“The thing was that when I asked the day before, I was pretty sure I’m gonna play at night session, because that’s what they told me,” Ostapenko said. “When the schedule came out, I saw I’m playing first match and was, like, wow, that’s a little bit strange scheduling.”
Delray Beach-born baseliner Gauff relishes steamy conditions that feel like home. A red-hot Gauff streaked through seven straight games today, while Ostapenko, who sprayed 36 unforced errors and was broken five times, wilted.
The 2017 Roland Garros champion said she felt “low energy” from the opening game and never really recovered.
“I mean, if I play a match, like, a late-night session, then I suppose in one day I have to play at least at the same time or later on, because you don’t really have much time to recover,” Ostapenko said. “Even you have this day in between, but you still need to practice, to do your things, to do the treatment and stuff.
“So I think it was better for her the schedule, because obviously she played much earlier the day I played night session.”
Photo credit: Garrett Ellwood/USTA/US Open