… wins her maiden Grand Slam in New York
American teenager Coco Gauff fulfilled the potential she has long promised by clinching her first Grand Slam title with a fightback win over Aryna Sabalenka in the US Open. The 19-year-old became the first American teenager to triumph at Flushing Meadows since Serena Williams in 1999.
Gauff, seeded sixth, started slowly in front of an expectant home crowd but grew in confidence to wear down second seed Sabalenka in women’s singles final in New York, BBC reports.
Gauff produced a gutsy performance on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court on Sunday to win 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 in two hours and six minutes.
“I feel like I’m in a little bit of shock at the moment,” Gauff said.
“I feel like God puts you through tribulations and trials and that makes this even sweeter,” added the American, who lost in her only other major singles final at the 2022 French Open.
“I’m thankful for this moment. I don’t have any words,” she said.
Australian Open champion Sabalenka, meanwhile, must wait for a second major title.
The 25-year-old Belarusian was seeded number two in the last major tournament of the season, can at least console herself with the knowledge she will still become the world number one on Monday for the first time.
Gauff will rise to a career-high third when the latest rankings are released on Monday – but claiming her first major at her home Grand Slam is what really matters.
When sealing victory with a backhand winner on her first championship point, Gauff immediately fell on to the court and laid on the sideline with her hands covering her face.
Almost the whole 24,000 crowd, which provided boisterous support throughout as they willed Gauff to victory, erupted in a frenzied celebration.
Gauff, overcome with emotion, made a heart sign to the fans before going up to the stands to see her parents Corey and Candi.
All three hugged and jumped in a circle as the family’s sacrifices and hard work had resulted in one of the sport’s biggest prizes.
Asked to describe that moment, a laughing Gauff said: “When I hugged my dad, I didn’t see him, because he went immediately for the embrace – but I heard him crying.
“I have never seen that man cry in my life. My mum, I knew she was going to cry regardless if I won or lost.
“Honestly (I was thinking) nothing. The whole time I was saying to myself, ‘Oh my goodness, how is this real?”