Coco Gauff wins US Open! America’s 19-year-old tennis sensation overcomes early struggles to upset second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka and capture her FIRST Grand Slam title
- The 19-year-old Gauff previously reached the Finals at the 2022 French Open
- Aryna Sabalenka stormed to a first set lead but lost the momentum thereafter
- DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news
Coco Gauff signalled a potentially new era for American tennis by holding her nerve to stage a brilliant comeback and claim the US Open title.
The Arthur Ashe Stadium rose to acclaim a new hero as she ultimately dissected the game of Aryna Sabalenka to emerge a 2-6 6-3 6-2 winner after a sometimes chaotic but always compelling final.
Before an assembled A-list crowd of screen stars – from Nicole Kidman to Diane Keaton – the players fought for a cheque of $3 million, fifty years after equal prize money was introduced.
The 19 year-old can expect a far greater bounty than that in time after positioning herself in the vanguard of an emerging generation.
A shooting star to the last sixteen at Wimbledon four years ago, she has been a long time in the making but this was a coming of age which will promote her to world number three.
Coco Gauff — the 19-year-old USA tennis sensation — is now a Grand Slam winner after the final
Gauff defeated current World No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka 2-6 6-3 6-2 in front of a raucous crowd
The Belarussian stormed through the first set but struggled to combat Gauff’s retrieval skills
Specifically in this match it was her superb defense that got her through, contributing just two unforced errors in the tension-filled decider. It all ended with a backhand pass drilled down the line in a nerveless final game, after which she walked up into the stands to hug her ecstatic parents.
Gauff had walked onto court to a predictably rousing ovation, with the sound only amplified by the roof being closed as rain was forecast in the area.
Attempting to become the twelfth teenage female winner at this venue – the last one was Emma Raducanu two years ago – she would be facing someone already assured of reaching world number one on Monday.
The American was armed with a 3-2 record over her opponent although their only meeting this year saw the Belarussian win at Indian Wells.
It was not long before Gauff was reminded of the power she would need to soak up, the shrieking Sabalenka breaking at the off with a huge cross court backhand.
The price of her huge cuts at the ball can be inconsistency and Gauff pounced to level for 2-2 when the higher ranked player double faulted and then wacked a forehand into the net with the court at her mercy.
Sabalenka’s emotions are an open book and she was definitely edgy, but managed to consolidate her break for 3-2 as the match turned into a game of cat and mouse – the second seed’s penetrating drives bringing out the best in the teenager’s remarkably athletic coverage of the baseline.
Gauff was in most of the points but her own lack of consistency was becoming a problem. When she thumped a straightforward back into the net she was two breaks behind at 5-2 down.
The American broke down in tears of joy following the capture of her first Grand Slam title
After dominating early, Sabalenka took a medical timeout while trailing 4-1 in the third set
By the time she had hit a wayward forehand to concede the set she was looking at four straight games lost. It could have been five when she double faulted twice at the start of the second but she was let off the hook by mistakes from the other end.
These continued to help, and Gauff gladly accepted a double fault from her increasingly fraught opponent to go 3-1 up. Amid a growing frenzy of support for Gauff, the unforced error count was more than double that of the winners but it was the American remaining the calmer.
The Sabalenka forehand became a liability as the set progressed in somewhat messy fashion, which helped ensure that the contest would head into a decider.
Now it was a question if Gauff’s superior defensive skills could keep applying the pressure to the wobbly world number one-elect.
The omens were promising as she got in front for the first time in the match by racing in on break point to reach a ball that popped up off the net cord.
Sabalenka will have felt very alone, and the atmosphere appeared to be getting to her as she kept racking up the errors while Gauff was happy to play in a more conservative fashion and retrieve everything thrown at her.
She punished a short second serve to move 3-0 up with the security of two breaks, and she played brilliantly from 0-30 to move within two games of the match.
Sabalenka called the trainer on to rub her thigh at 4-1 and immediately broke after the hiatus, but then handed it back partly due to a sixth double fault, just when she seemed to be opening her broad shoulders again to more effect.