3 reasons to watch the U.S. Open semifinals — even if you don’t like sports
Ben Shelton, Coco Gauff and Madison Keys are competing in the semifinals, all hoping for a first Grand Slam title
There’s a really good reason I don’t write about sports. For nearly every foul in football, soccer or basketball, I ask: “What just happened?”
But I still like watching most sports. And right now, I am hooked on the U.S. Open.
This year, the American players are dominating. There are three Americans competing in the semifinals, all hoping for a first Grand Slam title.
Even if you aren’t a big tennis fan, or sports fan for that matter, here are three reasons why you should tune in for the U.S. Open semifinals.
1. There are two American women in the semifinals
After nearly two weeks of intense competition in the extreme New York City heat, the women’s singles competition is down to four — and two of them are Americans. On Thursday, Coco Gauff and Madison Keys will fight for spots in the U.S. Open final.
If both American women defeat their competition in the semis, for the first time in more than two decades, the U.S. Open women’s final will feature two Black American players, ABC News reported.
In the semifinals, teenage sensation Guaff, the No. 6 seed, will play Karolína Muchová.
“I’m still in the mindset that I’m in the beginning of the tournament,” Gauff said, per The New York Times. “I just feel so fresh, to be honest. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been tricking myself or maybe when this is over I’m going to hit a wall. But I’m really proud of how I’m able to get through these matches.”
Keys will face one-time Grand Slam winner Aryna Sabalenka. Keys recently lost to Sabalenka during the Wimbledon quarterfinals in July. But she is prepared to compete against the 6-foot Belarusian once again.
“I think I just find another gear when it comes to slams,” Keys told reporters, per ESPN. “Part of it is that I put a little bit more pressure on myself, which is a good thing and also a bad thing sometimes.
“It’s going to be a lot of hard hitting, not a lot of long points,” Keys added of her upcoming semifinals match, per ESPN. “Just going to try to buckle up and get as many balls back as I can.”
Note: A Grand Slam tournament is one of four major tourneys contested each year: Australian, French and U.S. Open and Wimbledon.
2. American underdog Ben Shelton
Gasps were heard throughout Arthur Ashe Stadium as Ben Shelton upset Frances Tiafoe in the quarterfinals, Reuters reported.
It was 20-year-old Shelton’s first time playing in a U.S. Open night session at Arthur Ashe Stadium. He walked onto the court in 90-degree weather as an unseeded, unfavored underdog. He had lost more single matches this season than he had won — but he was ready to take down Tiafoe, a top 10 American player and last year’s runner-up.
Shelton is now the youngest male to reach a U.S. open semifinal for the first time in more than three decades, per CNN. And on Friday, he’ll take on 23-time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic, who is favored to win the tournament.
“Yeah, he’s won 23 of these or something like that,” Shelton said of his upcoming match against Djokovic, per CNN. “It doesn’t get much better than that. It’s been tough the last two matches. I’ve been playing Americans, but hopefully you guys bring it for me two nights from now.”
3. All the celebrity sightings
Unlike Wimbledon, there’s no royal box at the U.S. Open — but there are still loads of appearances from American royalty.
Athletes, politicians, pop stars, actors, influencers and tennis veterans show up for the big event. It’s a sporting event, but it’s also a star-studded occasion where the elite come dressed in their best to cheer (and pose for pictures).
Of the dozens of public figures spotted at the U.S. Open this year, here are some of the most notable: Anna Wintour, Naomi Campbell, Lindsey Vonn, Tina Fey, Ben Stiller, Zac Efron, Bill Murray, Hailey and Justin Bieber, Danny DeVito, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Barack and Michelle Obama, Katie Couric and Maria Sharapova, per People.
Between sets, it’s fun to watch the camera pan over celebrity tennis fans in the audience.
So far, we have seen Bieber sport a quirky pair of pink shades, Wintour rock an array of ankle-length floral dresses and Katie Holmes remind fans why she is a fashion icon. The de facto celebrity fashion show is guaranteed to carry on through the semifinals.
When are the U.S. Open semifinals?
The women’s singles semifinals are on Thursday.
- Coco Gauff vs. Karolína Muchová: Sept. 7 at 5 p.m. MDT.
- Madison Keys vs. Aryna Sabalenka: Sept. 7 at 6:15 p.m. MDT.
The men’s singles semifinals are on Friday.
- Ben Shelton vs. Novak Djokovic: Sept. 8, time TBD.
- Carlos Alcaraz vs. Daniil Medvedev: Sept. 8, time TBD.
How to watch the 2023 U.S. Open on TV
ESPN is the official sponsor of the tournament. Coverage of the event is available on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN+ and the Tennis Channel. Matches stream daily on ESPN+ from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. They stream daily on the Tennis Channel between 9 and 11 a.m, per the official U.S. Open site. For the first time, ABC will also provide coverage of the event.
A subscription to ESPN+ is available for $9.99 per month. It is also available through bundles with Hulu and Disney+. Although ESPN offers the most consistent coverage of the tennis tournament, there are other ways to watch without an ESPN+ subscription.
Subscriptions to the SlingTV sports package and FuboTV both provide coverage of the tournament through ESPN.
The U.S Open site and U.S Open app also provide live updates of matches, if you want to follow the event on the go.