Jakarta, IO – Coco Gauff has been earmarked as the future of women’s tennis – since she was 15 years old. That future arrived at the US Open on Saturday, in the form of her first Grand Slam Championship.
The 19-year-old American outlasted No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka, the new top-ranked player in the WTA, in a 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 thriller in the US Open final at Arthur Ashe Stadium. She becomes the 11th teenager to ever win a Grand Slam singles title, and the question now becomes how many more are in front of her.
The vast majority of tennis fans first heard the name Coco Gauff in 2019, when she upset Venus Williams, one of her idols, in the first round of Wimbledon. Then the youngest qualifier in Wimbledon history, Gauff became the youngest player to win a match in the singles draw at Wimbledon, since Jennifer Capriati did the job in 1991.
Gauff compounded the hype by reaching the fourth round of that tournament, then the third round at the 2019 US Open and the fourth round of the 2020 Australian Open. Her next breakthrough came later, reaching the quarterfinals in events like the French Open, the Canadian Open and the Italian Open in 2021, then her first Grand Slam final at the French Open in 2022.
After four years of waiting, Gauff won her first WTA 1000 event at the Cincinnati Open last month and didn’t stop there.
“Honestly, thank you to the people who didn’t believe in me,” Gauff said as quote by Yahoo . “A month ago, I won a 500 and people said I would stop at that. Two weeks ago, I won a 1000 title and people said that was the biggest it was going to get. Three weeks later, I’m here with this trophy right now.”
“Those who thought they were putting water on my fire, you were really adding gas to it.”
After shaking hands with Sabalenka and taking a moment to feel the love, Gauff’s first move was to embrace her family in the stands:
“Today was the first time I’ve ever seen my dad cry,” Gauff said to ESPN after the match. “He doesn’t want me to tell y’all that, but he got caught in 4K. He thinks he’s so hard, but you know he’s not … My dad took me to this tournament [years ago], sitting right there watching Venus and Serena [Williams] compete, so it’s really incredible to be on this stage.”
Saturday was Gauff’s third win of the tournament after losing the first set. Per ESPN Stats & Info, the only other person to win the US Open in that fashion was Gauff’s idol, Serena Williams, who did it at 17 years of age in 1999. (rp)