Coco Gauff, the 10th-ranked women’s singles player in the world, made a stunning comeback in the US Open final against Aryna Sabalenka from Belarus. She won the match 2-6 6-3 6-2.
The audience filled with famous individuals cheered enthusiastically as Gauff triumphed on her home court at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens. This victory marks the first grand slam win of the 19-year-old’s career and also makes her the first American teenager to claim the US Open title since Serena Williams, a 23-time major champion, did so in 1999.
“I am in a state of shock right now,” expressed a tearful Gauff following her victory. “God allows us to go through challenges and struggles, making this moment even more satisfying than I could have ever anticipated.”
She expressed gratitude towards her family, team, and those who didn’t have faith in her.
Attempting to win her second major championship of the year, upcoming women’s world number one Sabalenka made swift progress in the initial set, successfully breaking Gauff’s serve three times and securing a 6-2 victory in a commanding manner.
Despite the packed crowd cheering for her with the chant “Let’s go Coco,” Gauff stepped up her game in the second set. She managed to break her opponent’s serve and ultimately won the set 6-3, leading to a third and final set.
Unable to be stopped, Gauff dominated the third set by gaining two consecutive breaks, bringing her one step closer to her first grand slam victory. Despite Sabalenka winning the following two games, Gauff ultimately sealed the match and joined the ranks of the 12 teenage US Open champions in history.
“I didn’t have a clear understanding, but I was aware that if I didn’t put forth my maximum effort, I wouldn’t have a chance at winning,” Gauff explained when asked about her determination to bounce back after losing the first set.
During her journey to the final, the athlete was defeated in the first set of two matches. The first loss occurred in the first round against Laura Siegemund and the second loss was in the third round against Elise Mertens.
After winning, Gauff becomes the third American teen to be crowned US Open champion, alongside Williams and Tracy Austin. Her ranking in WTA singles is expected to rise to No. 3, while she will also share the No. 1 spot in doubles with fellow American Jessica Pegula.
After securing the win, Gauff fell to the floor before standing up to embrace Sabalenka. Following that, Gauff was overwhelmed with feelings and knelt down to savor the moment.
After the match, Gauff playfully teased her father and expressed gratitude towards her family. She acknowledged her parents first, saying, “I want to thank my parents.” She also added that it was the first time she had seen her dad cry, but he didn’t want her to reveal that. She jokingly said, “He doesn’t want me to tell you all, but he got caught on camera!”
Gauff mentioned to journalists that her parents supported her whenever she became overly critical of herself and placed too much emphasis on winning or losing.
In the past, I would tie my self-worth to my tennis performance. If I lost, I would believe that I was not a valuable person. However, my parents consistently reminded me that their love for me is unconditional, regardless of my performance, which has been helpful for me today.
When questioned about the importance of being the most recent Black woman to claim the women’s singles championship, Gauff acknowledged the influence of previous champions like Venus and Serena Williams, who paved the way for her success. She also mentioned being motivated by Sloane Stephens’ victory at the US Open in 2017.
She expressed her desire for other girls to witness her achievement and be inspired to believe in their own capabilities. She also hoped that their names could also be engraved on the trophy in the future.
Despite the defeat, the Belarusian athlete will claim the top spot in the WTA singles rankings next Monday, ending Iga Świątek’s 75-week long reign.
Sabalenka praised her opponent, expressing her desire to compete in multiple finals together and commending Gauff for her exceptional skills.
The American expressed her congratulations to Sabalenka for achieving the No. 1 position. She praised Aryna as an exceptional player and commended her well-deserved No. 1 ranking.
During a press conference following the match, Sabalenka admitted that the defeat served as a valuable lesson and that she began to overanalyze during the second set.
She stated, “It’s a battle within myself.” Gauff was excelling in her movements and defense compared to others.
She mentioned that she was going against the majority during the game.
Coco Gauff emerges victorious in the US Open women’s singles final, captured through photographs.
Gauff achieves her first grand slam victory.
The most recent encounter between Gauff and Sabalenka was during the quarterfinals of Indian Wells in March. Sabalenka emerged as the winner with a dominant score of 6-4, 6-0. However, their match in the Saturday final was a completely different story. In the six months since their previous meeting, Gauff has shown significant improvement.
The 19-year-old has achieved three WTA championships this year, including her most prestigious win in Cincinnati right before the US Open.
In 2022, Gauff competed in her second grand slam final, having previously made it to the French Open final. However, she was quickly defeated by Iga Świątek.
After defeating Karolína Muchová in the semifinals with a score of 6-4, 7-5, Gauff discussed her growth in mindset. She used to struggle with imposter syndrome, but now she has confidence in her ability to compete against top players in the world.
After this victory, she can now be considered one of the top players in the world, not just a competitor.
Gauff was up against a strong rival – the top-ranked player in the world. Prior to her semifinal match against Madison Keys, Sabalenka had been in control in New York, not losing a single set and never conceding more than five games in a single match.
Nevertheless, even though Sabalenka was defeated, her journey to the final marks an extraordinary year where she claimed three championships – including her first major win at the Australian Open and her sixth Masters 1000 victory in Madrid.