Coco Gauff saw her dreams come true as the American teenager beat Aryna Sabalenka 2-6 6-3 6-2 to claim her first Grand Slam title at the US Open. The 19-year-old became the first American teenager to triumph at Flushing Meadows since Serena Williams in 1999.
Sabalenka will be the new world No 1 on Monday after a consistent year in which she won the Australian Open and reached the semi-finals at the French Open and at Wimbledon. But that will be scant consolation for the 25-year-old from Belarus after she put herself in a position to win her second Grand Slam title only to fold as Gauff claimed her first; thrilling a raucous crowd with a memorable victory at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Gauff, who reached her first slam final at Roland Garros last summer, losing heavily to Iga Swiatek, said: “It means so much to me, I feel like I’m a little bit in shock. My French Open [final] loss was a heart-breaker for me; but God puts you through trials and tribulations and that makes this even sweeter. I just knew if I didn’t give it my all I had no shot at winning. Aryna is an incredible player and deserves to be number one.”
Gauff, 19, fed off the noisy local support as she mounted a terrific second set fight back and kept the momentum going until the end of the battle before falling to the court on Arthur Ashe Stadium after clinching the title with a backhand winner.
Sabalenka had a superb start but could not keep the momentum going as unforced errors piled up and she closed her 2023 Grand Slam run, which included an Australian Open title and semifinals at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, on a disappointing note. With the win, sixth seed Gauff became the first American to win a US Open singles title since Sloane Stephens in 2017.