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US Open women’s semifinal delayed by environmental protests

An environmental protest interrupted the US Open women’s semi-final between American Coco Gauff and Czech Karolína Muchová on Thursday evening, one match from the second set.

As Gauff led 6-4 1-0, several people started shouting from the top of Arthur Ashe Stadium, the largest tennis stadium in the world. The players eventually left the field and returned to the locker room as the protest continued.

According to tournament officials, three protesters disrupted the game. Two of them left quietly when security arrived, but one of the protesters – who could be seen on social media wearing a shirt that read ‘end fossil fuels’ – stuck his feet on the stadium floor. The police were eventually called and helped evict the last protester.

The New York City Police Department later told CBS News that a total of four people were removed from the stadium.

US Open women’s semifinal delayed by environmental protests
Members of the New York Police Department come in to help protesters during the women’s semi-final match between Coco Gauff of the United States and Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic.

Getty Images

The match resumed after nearly 50 minutes of delay. It was not immediately clear what charges could be brought against the protesters, if any.

The protesters’ shirts appeared to bear the logo of Extinction Rebellion, a group that takes part in protests to demand action on climate change. During the protest, the group shared a post about male semi-finalist Daniil Medvedev on social media, saying: “someone is going to die” at this year’s tournament due to extreme heat.

“In one tournament or another, it is inevitable, without significant change,” the group writes.

The New York chapter of the group shared a statement which reads in part: “The climate and ecological crisis threatens everything on our planet, including sport. This action and similar actions are the response of a movement that has no recourse but to engage. through unconventional means of protest to draw the attention of the masses to the greatest emergency of our time. »

This is the latest in a recent string of protests at sporting events – and tennis in particular – linked to the use of fossil fuels.

At Wimbledon in July, two matches were interrupted when environmental activists jumped from the stands on Court 18 and scattered orange confetti on the grass.

At a US Open warm-up tournament in Washington last month, a dozen people were asked to leave the site after chanting and posting signs protesting the use of fossil fuels.

US Open women’s semifinal delayed by environmental protests
Environmental protesters wearing ‘End Fossil Fuels’ t-shirts delay the match between American Coco Gauff and Czech Karolina Muchová at the US Open in New York on September 7, 2023.

KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images

Gauff, 19, is the first American teenager to reach the US Open semifinals since Serena Williams in 2001. Muchová, 27, was also making her first US Open semifinal. Gauff would win 6-4 7-5 for a place in the final.

Another American, Madison Keys, was scheduled to face Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka in the second semi-final of the evening, following the Gauff-Muchová match.

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