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Coco Gauff wins 2023 US Open women's singles title

Victoria Chiesa | September 09, 2023


She's the teenage queen of Queens: Coco Gauff had a well-earned Grand Slam coronation on Saturday at the US Open, with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over soon-to-be world No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka in the women's championship. 

 

Gauff is the 10th teenager to win the US Open women's title all-time and the first American teenager to be crowned at her home major since Serena Williams won as a 17-year-old in 1999.

 

In addition to Williams, Gauff joins Tracy Austin, Stefanie Graf, Monica Seles, Martina Hingis, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Maria Sharapova, Bianca Andreescu and Emma Raducanu on New York's under-20 roll of honor. (Austin and Seles each did it twice.)

After losing her first Grand Slam singles final to Iga Swiatek at Roland Garros last spring in straight sets, Gauff had an inauspicious start to her second. Sabalenka's big hitting was finding its mark more often than not in the first eight games, and she broke Gauff three times to take a one-set lead.

 

But soon, Gauff started to weave her web. Her world-class defense began to frustrate the No. 2 seed, who soon sprayed more groundstrokes long and wide, and buried overhead smashes into the net. The turning point came early on in the second set: Gauff saved two break points in the opening game, and took the lead for good when she broke Sabalenka to lead 3-1. 

 

From 1-1, the teenager met the moment, and won nine of 11 games to take a 4-0 lead in the final set. She never looked back.

"I feel like I'm a little bit in shock in this moment," Gauff said afterwards. "That French Open loss was a heartbreak for me, but I realize that God puts you through tribulations and trials, and that makes this moment even sweeter than I could've imagined.

 

"I just knew that if I didn't give it my all, I had no shot at winning."

 

In all, Sabalenka racked up 46 unforced errors in the match to 25 winners. Sixth-seeded Gauff, meanwhile, hit 13 winners to 19 unforced errors, but in the deciding set, hit five winners to just two unforced miscues. 

 

"In first set I was dealing with my emotions quite good," Sabalenka said afterwards. "I was focused on myself, not on the crowd or the way she move.

 

"She was moving just unbelievable today. But then the second set I start probably overthinking, and because of that I start kind of like losing my power. Then she start moving better. I start missing a lot of easy shots.

 

"There was key moments in ... the moments I lost, and those moments helped her to turn around the game."

 

Story continues below video.

WHAT IT MEANS: 

The 19-year-old came into these championships as the hottest player on the WTA Tour, having won lead-in titles in Washington, D.C., and Cincinnati, and checked off milestones with every victory. The title in the nation's capital was her first at WTA 500 level, and her triumph in Ohio was her first WTA 1000. 

 

Now, she has a Grand Slam title to add to the trophy case.

 

Since a first-round loss to Sofia Kenin at Wimbledon, Gauff is 18-1 in her last 19 matches played, with her only loss coming to fellow American Jessica Pegula in the quarterfinals in Montreal. Twelve of those have been in a row, marking the longest winning streak of her career to date. 

 

While Sabalenka will rise to world No. 1 on Monday as a result of bettering Swiatek's run at this tournament, Gauff, too, will hit a career-high ranking as a result of her triumph. She'll be the new world No. 3 in singles, and, as a bonus, will rise to co-No. 1 with Pegula in doubles.

 

MATCH POINT:

Four of Gauff's seven wins for the fortnight came in three sets. In addition to her come-from-behind triumph in the final, she rallied from a set down in her Round 1 and Round 3 wins against Laura Siegemund and Elise Mertens, respectively, and also beat former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in a fourth-round thriller.

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