Coco Gauff won the biggest title of her career on Sunday, beating Aryna Sabalenka in the final of the 2023 US Open to bring home her maiden Grand Slam title.
After going down rather tamely in the opening set, the American found her footing and took the fight to the Belarusian with a clever display of defense and athleticism. While Sabalenka was trying her best to hit the teenager out of the court, Gauff was content to make the World No. 2 play just one ball more and stay in the rallies.
The strategy paid off by the end of the night, as Aryna Sabalenka racked up 46 errors and only 25 winners. While Gauff hit only 13 winners, she also made only 19 unforced errors in all three sets combined — a testament to how shrewd her tactics were against the soon-to-be No. 1.
With the 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 win, Gauff became the third American teenager to win the US Open women’s title, joining the list of memorable champions Tracy Austin and Serena Williams. This also marks the end of a wonderful North American hardcourt swing for the World No. 6 — she previously won the WTA 500 Citi Open in Washington and the WTA 1000 Cincinnati Open.
Tennis fans on social media were ecstatic to see the teenager lift her maiden Grand Slam title, praising her for the incredible mental strength she has displayed over the years after bursting onto the scene at the age of just 15.
“This fuxking kid. Has had nothing but pressure and criticism since she was a 15. And she went out there and did it the fuxking hard way… I’m speechless,” one fan wrote.
“From a 15-year old prodigy to a 19-year old major champion. What Coco Gauff did these two weeks in New York will go down as an instantly iconic major run. A bonafide superstar. Also… she’s about to get PAID,” another fan said.
Here are a few more reactions from fans:
“I don’t pray for results, I just ask that I get the strength to give it my all, and whatever happens happens” – Coco Gauff
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Coco Gauff admitted that she was a “little bit in shock” after the victory, especially as her previous Slam final loss at the hands of Iga Swiatek in last year’s French Open was a “heartbreak” for her.
At the same time, she believed that God put her through such tribulations only to make this eventual victory even more sweeter for her.
“Oh my goodness. [Winning my first Grand Slam title on home soil] means so much to me. I feel like I’m a little bit in shock in this moment. That French Open loss was a heartbreak for me. But I realized, God puts you through tribulations and trials and this makes this moment even more sweeter than I can imagine,” Coco Gauff said.
“Oh, [my faith] has been so important. You know. I don’t pray for results. I just ask that I get the strength to give it my all and whatever happens happens. I’m so blessed in this life. So I’m just thankful for this moment. Like I don’t have any words for it to be honest,” she added.
Coco Gauff will become the new American No. 1 on Monday when the rankings are refreshed, also rising to a career-high World No. 3 spot.