Key events

Third set: Swiatek 3-6, 6-1, 3-4 Sabalenka* (*denotes next server)

Swiatek coasts to a stress-free hold. Two chances left for the top-seeded Pole to extend her tournament by breaking Sabalenka’s serve.

Third set: *Swiatek 3-6, 6-1, 2-4 Sabalenka (*denotes next server)

A gut-check moment for Sabalenka, who is forced to 30-all then break point down. She saves it emphatically with a 105mph ace for deuce then wins the next point, but follows with a double fault for another deuce point. Golden chance for Swiatek here, but Sabalenka slams the door with a couple of service winners and she’s two games from the final.

Sabalenka breaks in fifth game of third set!

Third set: Swiatek 3-6, 6-1, 2-3 Sabalenka* (*denotes next server)

What a reversal! Swiatek wins the opening point but Sabalenka, swinging freely, rattles off four quick points capped by a forehand volley winner to break back immediately and nose back in front. Could that be the push she needs to book a place in her first major final?

Swiatek breaks in fourth game of third set!

Third set: *Swiatek 3-6, 6-1, 2-2 Sabalenka (*denotes next server)

Sabalenka makes an unforced error off her backhand to go down love-15, then Swiatek conjures a sensational backhand passing winner for love-30. Big moment here for Sabalenka. And she answers it with a service winner followed by a 108mph ace down the middle for 30-all. Sabalenka wins the next point but Swiatek responds with a forehand winner for deuce. Then Sabalenka misses on a backhand from the baseline to give Swiatek her first break-point chance of the decider … and she converts it when Sabalenka sends a forehand flying. Back on serve in the final set!

Third set: Swiatek 3-6, 6-1, 1-2 Sabalenka* (*denotes next server)

Swiatek goes down love-15 on her serve, but rattles off four quick points including three forehand winners for a badly needed hold of serve. Sabalenka will look to stay out in front after the change of ends.

Third set: *Swiatek 3-6, 6-1, 0-2 Sabalenka (*denotes next server)

Sabalenka consolidates the break from 30-all. Swiatek’s game has come apart a bit as she’s made seven unforced errors in the past two games, bringing her total on the night to 27 (against 14 winners).

Sabalenka breaks in first game of third set!

Third set: Swiatek 3-6, 6-1, 0-1 Sabalenka* (*denotes next server)

A promising start for Sabalenka, who breaks immediately to open the third set. No one has played more three-set matches on the tour this season than Sabalenka, who’s 12-10 when it goes the distance (and 64-47 for her career), compared to 11-3 for Swiatek (23-13).

Swiatek wins second set, 6-1!

Swiatek breaks in seventh game of second set!

Second set: Swiatek 3-6, 6-1 Sabalenka

Sabalenka serve has gotten away from her in this second set and she’s paid the price for it once again here, getting broken a third time. The sixth seed got only 44% of her first serves in, down from 55% in the first. Meanwhile, Swiatek raised her first-serve percentage to 94% in the second from 64% in the first. Not surprisingly, we’re headed to a decider.

Iga Swiatek reacts after winning a point during the second set of Thursday’s match. Photograph: Frank Franklin II/AP

Second set: Swiatek 3-6, 5-1 Sabalenka* (*denotes next server)

Swiatek races to 40-love on her serve, extending runs of 11 straight first serves in and 11 points won in this second set. Then a wobble as she chips in a couple of unforced errors and a double fault for deuce. Sabalenka forced a second deuce but Swiatek is able to hit herself out of trouble from there, holding for 5-1.

Swiatek breaks in fifth game of second set!

Second set: *Swiatek 3-6, 4-1 Sabalenka (*denotes next server)

Sabalenka is pushed to deuce on her serve, then follows a 109mph service winner with a double fault for another deuce point. Swaitek keeps the pressure on and before long earns another break-point chance. And she converts it for a double-break lead in the second! Sabalenka has won all but six points on her first serve on the night. It’s the second serve where Swiatek is hurting her, winning 16 of 23 points.

Second set: Swiatek 3-6, 3-1 Sabalenka* (*denotes next server)

Swiatek, now dialed in on her serve, holds at love once again. She’s won all eight points on her serve since the setbreak.

Second set: *Swiatek 3-6, 2-1 Sabalenka (*denotes next server)

Sabalenka goes down 15-30 on her serve and looks in danger of letting this second set get away from her before it’s even really started and canceling out all her hard work to win the first. She’s able to win two quick points before Swiatek slots a forehand winner for deuce. From there Sabalanka pounds back-to-back winners from the baseline to get the sorely needed hold.

Second set: Swiatek 3-6, 2-0 Sabalenka* (*denotes next server)

Swiatek holds at love to back up the break in barely a minute, winning four straight staccato points including a 103mph ace down the middle. She’s won all eight points in the second set so far.

Swiatek breaks in first game of second set!

Second set: *Swiatek 3-6, 1-0 Sabalenka (*denotes next server)

Both players took off-court breaks after that first set, Swiatek’s slightly longer than Sabalenka’s, and we’re off and running in the second. And the world No 1 wastes no time righting the ship, breaking Sabalenka at love to open. A clunker of a service game for the No 6 seed, who chips in four straight unforced errors including her third double fault of the night.

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek is through to her third major semi-final of the sesaon. Photograph: Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports

Sabalenka wins first set, 6-3!

Sabalenka breaks in ninth game of first set!

First set: Swiatek 3-6 Sabalenka

Swiatek opens with her first ace of the night, a 110mph ace down the middle. But Sabalenka rattles off three quick points from there and suddenly she’s got a pair of set points at 15-40. And she needs only one of them, slotting a perfect forehand volley winner early in the point to snatch the first set decisively after 40 minutes.

First set: *Swiatek 3-5 Sabalenka (*denotes next server)

A bit of pressure on the Sabalenka serve as she’s pushed to 30-all, but the Belarusian rips back-to-back winners to hold. Swiatek will now serve to stay in the opening set.

Aryna Sabalenka
Aryna Sabalenka returns a shot to Iga Swiatek during Thursday’s match. Photograph: Frank Franklin II/AP

First set: Swiatek 3-4 Sabalenka* (*denotes next server)

Out in front on her serve for the first time tonight, Swiatek holds comfortably. But she’s still down a break and will need to make some headway on Sabalenka’s serve if she hopes to avoid going down a set.

First set: *Swiatek 2-4 Sabalenka (*denotes next server)

Sabalenka backs up the break in style, breezing through a love hold and capping it with a 106mph ace down the middle.

Sabalenka breaks in fifth game of first set!

First set: Swiatek 2-3 Sabalenka* (*denotes next server)

More serving woes for Swiatek as the world No 1 falls behind love-30. She’s able to get one back with a forehand winner, but she follows it with her first double fault of the night for 15-40, gifting Sabalenka two break-point opportunities. Swiatek saves both of them, helped along by a couple of Sabalenka errors, before fighting on to earn a third break chance. Swiatek saves that one, too, with a crisp forehand winner. Sabalenka gets a fourth look at a break shortly after with a massive return that Swiatek can’t handle and this time she converts, running Swiatek from corner to corner until she returns a backhand from the baseline into the net.

Swiatek breaks in fourth game of first set!

First set: *Swiatek 2-2 Sabalenka (*denotes next server)

Sabalenka shows her nerves in trying to back up the early break, going down love-30 then 15-40 on her serve. She’s able to fight off one break point with a forehand winner, but Swiatek strikes on the second to break back. We’re back on serve in the opener.

Sabalenka breaks in third game of first set!

First set: Swiatek 1-2 Sabalenka* (*denotes next server)

Swiatek quickly falls behind love-30 on her serve. Then a big Sabalenka return makes it love-40, giving the Belarusian three early break-point chances. She needs only one of them as Swiatek sends a forehand into the netcord early in a baseline rally then helplessly watches it carom backward into her side of the court.

First set: *Swiatek 1-1 Sabalenka (*denotes next server)

Sabalenka, like Swiatek, also holds from 15-30 in her opening service game. And off we go!

First set: Swiatek 1-0 Sabalenka* (*denotes next server)

A slight wobble for the top-seeded Swiatek in her opening service game as she falls behind 15-30 on an unforced error followed by a double fault. But she’s able to hold comfortably after Sabalenka accommodates with mistakes on the next three points.

Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka have taken the court for tonight’s second semi-final. The top-seeded Swiatek has won the toss and elected to serve. The players are into their warm-up and we should be under way shortly.

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek takes the court for Thursday’s semi-final. Photograph: Frank Franklin II/AP

“It feels amazing,” Jabeur says in her on-court interview after reaching her first US Open final. “After Wimbledon, [there was] a lot of pressure on me and I’m really relieved that I can back up my results. The hardcore season started a little bit bad, but now I’m very happy that I made it to the finals here.”

Jabeur is asked whether her perfect lifetime head-to-head record against Garcia entering tonight’s match – two wins on the pro tour and four more in the juniors – helped her to the win.

“I mean it helped and not at the same time, because I know she was playing amazing tennis and that kind of pressure puts a lot of pressure on you. So it wasn’t easy for me, but mentally I was so ready.”

Jabeur wins 6-1, 6-3 to reach US Open final!

Second set: Garcia 1-6, 3-6 Jabeur

With Jabeur serving for the match, Garcia conjures a couple of winners to force it to 30-all. But the Tunisian responds with a forehand winner for match point, then a 75mph serve to the body that Garcia swats into the net. Jabeur immediately falls to her knees behind the baseline and lets out a scream. She’s headed to the US Open final for the first time!

Second set: Garcia 1-6, 3-5 Jabeur* (*denotes next server)

Garcia holds comfortably, hitting a couple of gorgeous volleys along the way. It’s now up to Jabeur to serve for a place in Saturday’s final.

Second set: *Garcia 1-6, 2-5 Jabeur (*denotes next server)

Another glimmer of a chance for Garcia when Jabeur goes down 15-30 on her serve. Jabeur answers with a 93mph second-serve service winner before holding serve on another glut of unforced errors by Garcia. Jabeur is four points away from her first US Open final with Garcia due to serve to stay in the tournament after the change of ends.

Second set: Garcia 1-6, 2-4 Jabeur* (*denotes next server)

Garcia falls behind love-30 on her serve. She’s able to hold with four quick points from there, finally getting the free points on her serve that she’s been getting all tournament but which have eluded her tonight. But she’s still down a set and a break and will need to make headway on Jabeur’s serve, and soon, in order to keep her US Open run alive.

Caroline Garcia
Caroline Garcia has struggled mightily in her first major semi-final. Photograph: Danielle Parhizkaran/USA Today Sports

Second set: *Garcia 1-6, 1-4 Jabeur (*denotes next server)

Jabeur appears bound for a stress-free hold at 40-15. But Garcia wins a couple of points to get to deuce on a Jabeur service game for the first time all night. Some nice fight from the Garcia to force a second deuce point, then a third, but Jabeur is able to serve her way out of trouble, cracking her eighth ace of the night along the way.

Jabeur breaks in fourth game of second set!

Second set: Garcia 1-6, 1-3 Jabeur* (*denotes next server)

It’s just gotten worse for Garcia. After falling behind love-15, then 15-30, then 30-40 and break point on her serve, she mixes in her 18th unforced error of the night to gift Jabeur the break of serve.

Second set: *Garcia 1-6, 1-2 Jabeur (*denotes next server)

A glimmer of a chance for Garcia, who is able to push it to 30-all on Jabeur’s serve for only the second time all night. But Jabeur wins two quick points from there to hold before it can get interesting.

Second set: Garcia 1-6, 1-1 Jabeur* (*denotes next server)

Garcia is pressured again on her serve after another unforced error off the forehand makes it 30-all. But she holds from there, capping the game with first ace of the night: 108mph down the center.

Second set: *Garcia 1-6, 0-1 Jabeur (*denotes next server)

Jabeur breezes through her opening service game of the second set. The Wimbledon runner-up is simply on fire while Garcia is … not.

Jabeur wins first set, 6-1!

Jabeur breaks in seventh game of first set!

First set: Garcia 1-6 Jabeur

Garcia opens with a drop-shot winner but falls behind 15-30 with a two more errors. Jabeur then hits a forehand return winner for 15-40 and a couple of set points. But she needs just one of them as Garcia sends a forehand wide to give the Tunisian the opening set in a scant 23 minutes.

Remember: Garcia entered tonight’s match having yet to drop a set in the tournament with only 27 games conceded. She will need to reboot fast or it could get late early.

Ons Jabeur
Ons Jabeur celebrates after winning the first set of Thursday’s match. Photograph: Sarah Stier/Getty Images

First set: *Garcia 1-5 Jabeur (*denotes next server)

Jabeur crushes three straight aces down the middle to race to 40-love, then closes the elementary love hold to consolidate the break with a forehand volley winner. Garcia will now serve to stay in the opening set.

Jabeur breaks in fifth game of first set!

First set: Garcia 1-4 Jabeur* (*denotes next server)

More error-strewn play from Garcia costs her dearly. She falls behind 30-40 on her serve with her ninth, 10th and 11th unforced errors of the day, then hands Jabeur a double-break lead with her 12th (against just four winners). Garcia is struggling badly with Jabeur’s slice and finds herself in a heap of trouble after less than 20 minutes.

First set: *Garcia 1-3 Jabeur (*denotes next server)

Jabeur falls behind 15-30 on her serve, but rattles off three quick points on an 100mph ace down the middle followed by consecutive forehand winners. She’s serving well and hitting the ball confidently early on.

First set: Garcia 1-2 Jabeur* (*denotes next server)

Garcia quickly falls behind love-30 on her serve. But she rattles off four quick points from there to get on the board and avoid a disastrous start. As the players change ends, the sun goes down over the Manhattan skyline from the west side of Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Caroline Garcia v Ons Jabeur
A view of the New York skyline during Thursday’s US Open semi-final between Caroline Garcia and Ons Jabeur. Photograph: Julia Nikhinson/AP

First set: *Garcia 0-2 Jabeur (*denotes next server)

Jabeur cracks back-to-back aces down the middle to open her first service game. Garcia then makes another unforced error – her fifth already – and Jabeur is a point from the hold at 40-love. The 17th seed has lost seven straight points, showing early nerves. She pulls two points back with a backhand winner and Jabeur’s first double fault, but Jabeur holds comfortably thanks to Jabeur’s sixth miscue.

Jabeur breaks in first game of first set!

First set: Garcia 0-1 Jabeur* (*denotes next server)

Garcia wins the first two points. But she follows with a pair of unforced errors off the forehand from the baseline, then nets a volley on the approach to face an early break point. A chance for Jabeur to draw first blood. And Garcia gifts it to her, sending a cross-court backhand sailing past the baseline early in the point.

Jabeur and Garcia have taken the court for their semi-final match on a pleasant 75F (24C) evening. They emerge to a two-thirds empty Arthur Ashe Stadium, owing to the typically late-arriving New York crowd. Billie Jean King is out for the coin toss and the players join her at the net, then pause for a moment of silence to commemorate the passing of the Queen.

Garcia wins the toss and elects to serve. The players are now into their warm-ups and we should be under way shortly.

Caroline Garcia v Ons Jabeur
Caroline Garcia, left, poses for a photo with Ons Jabeur ahead of their US Open semi-final match. Photograph: John Minchillo/AP

Some quick notes ahead of tonight’s first match between Jabeur and Garcia. Jabeur, the fifth-seeded Tunisian who reached the Wimbledon final in July, has become the first African to reach the semi-finals in US Open history. Only three only African women have reached the last four at any major in the professional era: Annette Du Plooy (1968 Roland Garros), Yvonne Vermaak (1983 Wimbledon) and Amanda Coetzer (1997 Roland Garros, 1996-97 Australian Open).

The scorching-hot Garcia, who has won three titles on three different surfaces this summer and enters tonight’s match on a career-best streak of 13 straight wins, has finally made the last four in her 42nd career appearance at a grand slam. Only four women have played more majors before making their semi-final debuts: Barbora Strycova (53, 2019 Wimbledon), Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (52, 2021 French Open), Elena Likhovtseva (46, 2005 French Open) and Roberta Vinci (44, 2015 US Open) – the last of those much to Serena Williams’s chagrin.


Hello and welcome to Flushing Meadows for tonight’s US Open women’s semi-finals. We’ve got a delicious twin-bill in store with No 5 Ons Jabeur meeting No 17 Caroline Garcia in the first match and No 1 Iga Swiatek going against No 6 Aryna Sabalenka in the nightcap.

We’re guaranteed a first-time US Open champion from this crop, but all the chatter about this being a wide-open semi-final draw feels a bit off target with a gang of four that includes this year’s French Open champion (Swiatek), a returning US Open semi-finalist (Sabalenka), the Wimbledon runner-up (Jabeur) and the hottest player on tour all summer long (Garcia). You could hardly ask for a more deserving last four at the season’s final major.

Plenty more to come tonight from the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, where the first of our two semi-finals should be under way in about a half-hour.

Bryan will be here shortly. In the meantime here’s Tumaini Carayol’s lookback at Wednesday night’s (and Thursday morning’s) absolute cracker of a men’s quarter-final between Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner.

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