(NEW YORK) — Nineteen-year-old Coco Gauff on Saturday claimed her first Grand Slam tournament title, defeating Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka in the U.S. Open women’s final.
Gauff, the No. 6 seed, was the first American teenager to compete in the U.S. Open women’s final since then-19-year-old Serena Williams faced off against her older sister, Venus Williams, in 2001.
Gauff was the 10th teen to win the U.S. Open women’s singles championship — and the youngest American to claim the title since Serena Williams won in 1999 at the age of 17.
Gauff was also one of four Black American players — in addition to Frances Tiafoe, Madison Keys and Ben Shelton — to reach the quarterfinals of the Grand Slam tournament, the first time that has happened in the sport’s open era, which began in 1968.
She last played in a Grand Slam final in 2022, losing the French Open to Iga Swiatek. Last month, the teen won the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, becoming the youngest player to do so.
In an on-court interview after Thursday’s semifinal, Gauff said it means a lot to make it to the final.
“A lot to celebrate, but, you know, the job is not done,” Gauff said.
Sabalenka, 25, the No. 2 seed, reached the semifinals of the U.S. Open in 2021 and 2022. She won her first career major title in January, at the Australian Open.
Despite her loss Saturday, Sabalenka becomes the No. 1 women’s tennis player in the world when the Women’s Tennis Association’s rankings are updated.
Gauff reached the championship after beating Karolina Muchova, of the Czech Republic, in two sets last Thursday. The match was delayed for nearly an hour after four spectators protested against climate change. Two of the protesters were arrested.
Sabalenka defeated American Madison Keys on Thursday in three sets — two of which were tiebreakers — to reach the final.
Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.