Coco Gauff Defeats Aryna Sabalenka To Win US Open Title

Coco Gauff, an American teenager, rallied from behind to win the US Open on Saturday, claiming her first Grand Slam title with a spirited victory over Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka.

Gauff, 19, won 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 in 2 hours and 6 minutes on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court, capping off a fairytale turnaround in her season’s fortunes.

The sixth seed from Florida entered the final as the underdog against the hard-hitting second seed Sabalenka, who will be ranked number one in the world next week.

Despite both players making a plethora of errors throughout an error-strewn final seen by a star-studded record audience of 28,143, Gauff held her nerve when it needed to seal a deserved triumph.

The victory capped a remarkable comeback for Gauff, who was devastated after losing in the first round of Wimbledon in July.

After a heartbreaking loss in her first Grand Slam final at the French Open last year, she rebounded back to win titles in Washington and Cincinnati, and she has now earned the biggest win of her career.

“It means so much to me,” an elated Gauff said afterwards. “I feel like I’m a little bit in shock in this moment.

“That French Open loss (last year) was a heartbreak for me. This makes this moment even sweeter than I could imagine.”

Gauff, the third American teenager to win the US Open after Tracy Austin and Serena Williams, also used her victory speech to thank those who doubted her talent.

“Honestly thank you to the people who didn’t believe in me,” she joked.

“To those who thought they were putting water on my fire, they were putting gas on my fire and I’m burning so bright right now.”

Sabalenka meanwhile blamed self-inflicted errors for her defeat, saying at times she was playing “me against me.”

“She was moving just unbelievable today,” Sabalenka said of Gauff. “But then the second set I start probably overthinking, and because of that I start kind of like losing my power.

“Then she start moving better. I start missing a lot of easy shots.”

 First set struggle 

Sabalenka broke Gauff right away with a rasping backhand that brought a cry of “Come On!” from the Belarusian.

She held easily to take a 2-0 lead, but Gauff took advantage of Sabalenka’s poor service game to break at 2-2 in the fourth.

The Belarussian double-failed twice, allowing Gauff to regain parity.

But Sabalenka stormed back to take a 3-2 lead in the next game, erasing the hard-won parity.

Sabalenka then faltered on her own serve once more, allowing Gauff to save two break points in the sixth game.

Sabalenka, on the other hand, returned it to deuce with an ace and then seized a 4-2 lead with an impressive smash.

Gauff’s serve woes persisted, as Sabalenka broke for the third time to sprint ahead 5-2, and she duly closed out the set by holding in the next game.

Despite the fact that the match was on the verge of being a rout, Gauff ultimately found her groove in the second set, making less unforced errors and ironing out the wrinkles in her serve.

Instead, as the stress grew, Sabalenka began to exhibit signs of brittleness. She double-faulted, giving Gauff the set’s sole break and a 3-1 lead.

Gauff saved a break point in the next game to go up 4-1, and she went on to hold for the rest of the set to tie the match when Sabalenka hit a forehand long.

The momentum stayed with Gauff in the final set, as she secured another vital break in the opening game with a smash on an underhit Sabalenka lob.

Gauff then easily held on for a 2-0 lead as Sabalenka tried to regain composure.

She made four unforced errors, giving Gauff a break and a 3-0 lead, which she easily held to go up 4-0.

Sabalenka stopped the rot by holding serve in the fifth game, before taking a medical timeout to receive treatment on her left thigh.

Gauff was in no mood to let her grip on the match slip though.

Although Sabalenka held and broke Gauff to cut the lead to 4-2, Gauff hit back when Sabalenka double-faulted to present a break point.

Gauff cashed in to break and grab a 5-2 lead and then swept to victory in the next game, holding to love with a backhand winner.

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