Take Five: The top American stories from 2022 Roland Garros
Welcome to Take Five, a weekly series on USTA.com recapping five of the biggest stories from American tennis over the last week on the professional tennis circuit. We're reacapping the last fortnight here, as the second Grand Slam tournament of 2022 was one to remember for Team USA.
1. Coco Gauff's teenage dream: 18-year-old reaches singles, doubles finals in Paris
Since she made her Grand Slam debut as a 15-year-old at Wimbledon in 2019, many felt it was a matter of 'when,' rather than 'if' Coco Gauff would have a Grand Slam fortnight for the history books. While she fell just short of the ultimate goal of leaving Paris as a major champion, the now-18-year-old and newly-minted high school graduate earned an A-plus for her effort over two weeks.
Read more at usta.com: Coco Gauff finishes as singles runner-up to Iga Swiatek at 2022 Roland Garros
It took only a surging Iga Swiatek, the world No. 1 who's been unbeaten since February, to stop Gauff in singles: She didn't lose a set in six matches leading into the final, becoming the youngest woman in 18 years to reach a singles final at a Grand Slam. She and Jessica Pegula were also beaten in the doubles final by a pair of former major-winners in Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic.
Gauff's run in Paris plants her at new career-high rankings this week in both singles and doubles; she checks in at No. 13 in singles and No. 5 in doubles. But, she says, the biggest consequence of her run in Paris—which came after she was disappointed by her results in other big tournaments this year—is a change in perspective.
"I think this tournament was the first tournament this year that I went in trying to win for myself, and I think that was the difference in my mentality," Gauff said. "I think that now that I have found that mental state, I know how to get there. I think it will help me in future tournaments."
2. Pegula soars to WTA Top 10, becomes highest-ranking American
While Gauff continues to make waves as a teenager, Pegula is coming into her own at age 28. After reaching the quarterfinals at the Australian Open in January, Pegula matched the feat in Paris before losing to Swiatek; she joins the Pole as the players who got that far in both of the first two major tournaments of the year.
Her runner-up showing with Gauff in doubles was also Pegula's best career doubles result at a major; she had previously never been past the third round.
Possibly the most consistent player on the WTA this year outside of the world No. 1, Pegula continues to reap the rewards of hard work. After reaching the singles quarterfinals and doubles final in Paris, she reaches new career highs in both disciplines this week. Rising to a career-high world No. 8, Pegula passes Australian Open finalist Danielle Collins and becomes the top-ranked U.S. woman, and she also cracks the Top 15 in doubles at No. 13.
"I think really there's nowhere to go but up. ... I think it's just showing my level's right there," Pegula said in Paris.
"It's just amazing when you realize that you can go so much further than you think you can. ... I think the unknown, it can make it seem like it's so difficult, and I think I've learned that as I've got to the Top 20, Top 15 and now Top 10, that it's definitely achievable. I think you just have to believe in yourself and it's really such a big part of it."
3. Led by Gauff and Pegula, Americans shine in doubles draws
Gauff and Pegula weren't the only U.S. doubles team to thrive in Paris. Austin Krajicek continued his rise up the ATP doubles rankings with a run to the final alongside Croatia's Ivan Dodig, and Nicole Melichar-Martinez reached the mixed doubles semifinals with Germany's Kevin Krawietz. To reach the final, Gauff and Pegula ended the run of Madison Keys and Taylor Townsend in an all-American semifinal; Townsend, who gave birth to a son last March, was playing just her fourth tournament since the 2020 US Open. Eight U.S. men and nine U.S. women won at least one match in the men's and women's doubles events.
In juniors, 17-year-old Nicholas Godsick reached the boys' doubles semifinals with his Portuguese partner Henrique Rocha. The all-American pair of 16-year-old Liv Hovde, the 2021 Easter Bowl champion, and 17-year-old Qavia Lopez reached the girls' doubles quarterfinals as well; that added to a quarterfinal run for Hovde in singles.
4. Mathewson wins first Roland Garros match
Last year, Dana Mathewson became the first-ever U.S. woman to compete in the wheelchair event at Roland Garros. In 2022, she got her first win. In the first Roland Garros event to feature a wheelchair singles draw of 16 players, Mathewson won her first round match against Chile's Macarena Cabrillana in straight sets before falling to former finalist Aniek van Koot in the quarterfinals. She was close to her first-ever win against the former world No. 1 in the last eight—a win would've put her in a Grand Slam semifinal for the second time—but van Koot rallied for a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory.
"Great matches don't necessarily end in the greatest results," Mathewson later wrote on social media, "but I'm grateful for this week at Roland Garros. Merci, Paris!"
David Wagner was the other American who competed in the wheelchair event; his campaign ended in both the quad singles and quad doubles semifinals.
5. Nakashima, McDonald have best-ever showings in Paris
Playing their first and fourth Roland Garros main draws, respectively, Brandon Nakashima and Mackenzie McDonald led the American men in Paris; both reached the third round. Nakashima, who lost in the first round of qualifying in each of the last two years, came from two-sets-to-one down to win his opener against Poland's Kamil Majchrzak, and later beat Tallon Greikspoor of the Netherlands before being defeated by No. 3 seed Alexander Zverev. McDonald lost his first set of the tournament to Italian lucky loser Franco Agamenone, but won his next six; he upset No. 22 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia in Round 2 before falling to Italian No. 11 seed Jannik Sinner.
Nakashima's fellow #NextGenATP star Sebastian Korda also made the third round as the No. 27 seed; he was beaten by a fellow rising star, No. 6 seed Carlos Alcaraz of Spain.
Professional tennis wasn't only being played in Paris over the last two weeks. Chronologically, other notable American results around the world included:
- Robin Anderson won an all-American final over Sachia Vickery at the USTA Pro Circuit ITF World Tennis Tour W60 in Orlando, Fla. Seven of the eight singles quarterfinalists were American, and Sophie Chang and Kayla Day were the beaten semifinalists. Chang and Angela Kulikov beat Hanna Chang and Elli Mandlik in an all-American doubles final.
- Evan King won the doubles title at the ATP Challenger 80 in Troisdorf, Germany with German-Jamaican Dustin Brown.
- Turning to the grass, Denis Kudla reached the final of the ATP Challenger 125 in Surbiton, Great Britain. Nakashima also reached the quarterfinals.
- Stateside on hard courts, Christian Harrison partnered Australia's Andrew Harris to win the USTA Pro Circuit ATP Challenger 100 in Little Rock, Ark. They beat the all-American team of Max Schnur and Rob Galloway in the final.
- Hunter Reese and his Polish partner Szymon Walkow won the clay-court ATP Challenger 90 in Poznan, Poland.
- Jessie Aney and Germany's Lena Papadakis won the ITF World Tennis Tour W25 event in Annanheim, Austria.
- Bryan Barten and Slovakia's Tomas Masaryk won the quad wheelchair doubles title at the Israel Open, an ITF Series 2 event in Ramat-Hasharon, Israel.