Coco Gauff Wins First US Open Title – Momentous Occasion for American Tennis
Coco Gauff of the United States won her maiden Grand Slam championship after defeating Belarusian second seed Aryna Sabalenka 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the US Open women’s final.
Sixth seed Gauff became the first American to win the US Open singles title since Sloane Stephens in 2017.
Gauff, 19, was fueled by an adoring home audience as she staged a fantastic second set fight back and maintained momentum until the finish of the battle, when she dropped to the court on Arthur Ashe Stadium after capturing the title with a backhand winner.
Sabalenka got a great start but couldn’t maintain it as unforced errors mounted up, and she ended her 2023 Grand Slam run, which includes an Australian Open win and semifinals at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, on a down note.
Gauff, from Florida, is the first American kid to win a major tennis championship since Serena Williams in 1999.
This is the kind of triumph that had been expected of Gauff – rightly or unfairly – since she burst onto the scene at 15 by becoming the youngest qualifier in Wimbledon history and reaching the fourth round in her Grand Slam debut in 2019.
She reached her first major final at last year’s French Open, becoming runner-up, and has now won the biggest trophy of her still-developing career. Gauff won her 12th straight match and 18th in her last 19 matches dating back to a first-round defeat at the All England Club in July.
The sixth seed is Gauff accomplished this on Saturday by withstanding Sabalenka’s power on practically every stroke of her racket, finally becoming acclimated to it and recovering shot after shot. Gauff broke to start the third set on only one of these points, following down every ball shot her way before hitting a put-away volley that she accented with a fist pump and a yell of, “Come on!”
Gauff soon had a 4-0 lead in that set. Sabalenka had a medical timeout at 4-1 to have her left leg massaged. Gauff kept his focus during the break – which lasted only a few minutes, rather than the 50 minutes that occurred during a climate protest in the semifinals – by practicing some serves.
When the game resumed, Sabalenka broke to cut the deficit to 4-2. Gauff, on the other hand, broke right back and was soon serving out the victory before dropping onto her back on the court. She quickly climbed into the stands to hug her parents and others.
“You did it!” says the author. Gauff’s mother told her, both of them crying.