Katherine Hui made it two big victories for American teenagers at the US Open on Saturday, winning the girls’ title as an unseeded wildcard in only her second junior grand slam appearance.
Hui, an 18-year-old from San Diego who is entering her freshman year at Stanford, stepped on to Court 12 for her final during 19-year-old Coco Gauff’s victory over Aryna Sabalenka for the women’s title inside Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Hui then beat No 9 seed Tereza Valentova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-4. Hui said she has never met Gauff, but was cheering for her until having to begin her own match.
“I didn’t know what happened after, but I heard some really loud roars come across, so I just assumed she won,” Hui said. “Yeah, it just got louder and louder. I heard a cheer and I thought she had won and then an even louder one.
“She’s obviously such a big inspiration to me,” Hui added, saying that “just being that young and accomplishing so much with so much, probably, pressure is amazing.”
Hui lost to former Wimbledon finalist Genie Bouchard in the first round of qualifying for the women’s draw in New York.
“I think I honestly dedicate a lot of this win to her,” said Hui, who started playing when she was 7. “I had learned a lot. I was very discouraged from that match just because I felt like I had too much expectations and put too much expectations on results and wasn’t able to execute my game.
“Obviously she takes balls early and steps in and was hitting really deep. I kind of took inspiration to that, and I have been here since then practicing on-site. So these last two weeks I have just been really working. I think a little bit of my anger fueled the motivation during practice.”
Hui, whose parents were both born and raised in China before making their way to the United States, starts her first semester of college in nine days. The alumna of San Diego’s Santa Fe Christian High School said that Saturday’s title offers a pleasant boost as she prepares to join her team-mates in Palo Alto.
“I think it just gives me a lot of confidence, because I knew that I was capable of it, and obviously not playing a lot of ITFs and having a year of injury during that important time to travel and play was a little bit offsetting,” she said. “So I think it gives me confidence going into college, and I know the competition is strong and there is a lot more players deciding to go that route.”
João Fonseca of Brazil, the No 7 seed, won the boys division title by beating Learner Tien 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Tien, a 17-year-old American who was seeded No 11, lost to 2022 US Open semi-finalist Frances Tiafoe in straight sets in the first round of the men’s tournament.