The US Open women’s singles semi-final between Coco Gauff and Karolina Muchova was dramatically halted on Thursday after a protest by climate activists.
The match on Arthur Ashe Stadium was halted in game two of the second set after a group of three protesters wearing t-shirts with the slogan “end fossil fuels” began chanting the same message.
The protesters were greeted with jeers and chants of “kick them out” by other spectators as security staff moved in.
Images posted on social media appeared to show that at least one of the protesters had glued his feet to the concrete floor of the stadium, preventing his easy removal from the arena.
The delay occurred as Muchova prepared to serve in game two of the second set with Gauff leading 6-4, 1-0 just after 8pm local time.
Gauff and Muchova waited patiently on the court for several minutes as but eventually left the court to return to the locker rooms.
Play had not resumed a full 36 minutes later as tournament officials struggled to remove the protesters.
Television footage showed Gauff and Muchova trying to stay loose in the locker rooms, consulting with coaching staff.
The incident is the latest in a series of protests by climate activists targeting major sporting events around the world.
In July, three people were arrested after disrupting play at Wimbledon, scattering orange confetti and jigsaw pieces over the court. The three were subsequently charged with aggravated trespass and face criminal prosecution.
In a separate incident at the Ashes cricket Test between Australia and England at Lord’s in London in June, two men from the “Just Stop Oil” movement ran onto the field and scattered orange powder.
There were similar demonstrations during the recent World Snooker Championship and English Premiership rugby final.
The group has also targeted Premier League matches and the Formula One British Grand Prix at Silverstone.