Teenager Gauff Beats Sabalenka, Wins US Open Women’s Title
American teenager Coco Gauff mounted a fierce comeback to beat Belarusian second seed Aryna Sabalenka 2-6 6-3 6-2 in the US Open women’s final on Saturday, claiming her first Grand Slam title on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court in Yew York, USA.
There were early signs of nervousness from both players, as Gauff made a pair of unforced errors to help Sabalenka to a break in the opening game and the Belarusian dropped serve in the fourth game with two double faults and an unforced error.
The crowd urged on Gauff, but Sabalenka blocked out the noise and used her mighty forehand to convert on a break point chance in the fifth game. The Belarusian was helped to another break in the seventh as Gauff double faulted and made two more costly forehand mistakes.
In the second set, Gauff showed new resolve when she fended off a pair of break points in the first game and flipped the script.
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What was once a lopsided affair turned into a battle as Gauff increased her intensity to take the second set.
The American then produced an overhead smash to break in the opening game of the third set and converted another in the third game. Sabalenka took a medical timeout after the fifth game, consulting a physio for an apparent issue with her left thigh, but did not appear worse off as she broke in the next game.
If Gauff was rattled, however, she did not show it, winning a 20-shot rally before breaking back in the seventh game and soaking up the adoration of the crowd at the major she grew up watching as she clinched the title in style.
The win delivered on years of enormous expectations hoisted upon the young American Gauff’s shoulders after she became the youngest ever to qualify for the Wimbledon main draw at 15 years old.
“People were putting a lot of pressure on me to win. I felt that at 15 I had to win a slam at 15,” said Gauff. “I felt like I had a time limit on when I should win one, and if I won one after a certain age it wouldn’t be an achievement.”
“Yeah, it’s just crazy the amount of things that I have heard or seen about myself, but I’m really happy of how I’ve been able to manage it all.”
COCO. JUST. DID. THAT. 👏 pic.twitter.com/5hEljScb3j
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 9, 2023
With the win, sixth seed Gauff became the first American to win a US Open singles title since Sloane Stephens in 2017.
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 semi-finals at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, on a disappointing note.