Coco Gauff won her maiden Grand Slam title at the 2023 US Open after a superb comeback against Aryna Sabalenka .
Ahead of the last major of the season, it was one of the most probable final clashes, and after two weeks of fights and 126 matches in the women’s singles competition, it was here, the sixth-seeded Coco Gauff took on the second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka .
Previously, the two met five times on the WTA Tour, with the American winning three of those matches, but their most recent meeting in Indian Wells went in Sabalenka’s favour . But this time, it was much different.
Gauff entered the final on an eleven-match winning streak, and even the Belarusian admitted that she sees her final opponent as ‘a different player’ . The history was on the line, and there was no doubt about which side would the New York crowd pick.
But in the first set, the 19-year-old didn’t give the crowd at Flushing Meadows many reasons to cheer. Sabalenka dominated the play, and her opponent didn’t seem to find any answers for a very long time.
After the Belarusian got the initial break already in the first game of the match, Gauff was then able to break back and level the score at 2-2, but that was mostly because of her opponent’s terrible play in the fourth game.
But Sabalenka then showed why she’d become the new world no. 1 after the US Open , destroying the home crowd favourite in the rallies and making fans wonder how could the 19-year-old possibly turn around this one-sided affair.
It seemed very unlikely, not just because of the second seed’s dominance, but also because she had two break points in the opening game of the second set. But saving both of them, the American showed that she came to fight.
A few games later, Gauff had her one and only break point in the second set, and she didn’t miss. Using her only chance, the 19-year-old broke her opponent’s serve, saving another break point in the next game, and building up the momentum to win the second set 6-3 and take the match into the decider.
But the ‘job was not finished’ , and Gauff needed to win one more set to win the title. She did everything necessary to maximize her chances early in the third set, breaking her opponent’s serve not once, but twice, to lead 4-0.
Sabalenka was then able to pull one back, and subsequently, the Belarusian requested a medical time-out, to seemingly release some pressure in her legs. The time-out probably also had a tactical reason, but Gauff tried everything not to be distracted by it.
But sometimes, it may be difficult not to be distracted, and Sabalenka certainly used the medical time-out to her advantage, immediately breaking back and recovering one of the breaks. But that wasn’t enough against the home crowd favourite.
Gauff broke back, showing why she’s arguably the best player on the WTA Tour right now, and after winning the one last needed game, she won the match 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 to win the 2023 US Open and her first Grand Slam title.
The teenager said earlier this week that she doesn’t want to compare herself to Serena Williams , but that may be a bit difficult as she became the youngest American to win the US Open since the 23-time Grand Slam champion did it in 1999.