Gauff became the youngest American to win the tournament since Serena Williams in 1999
Coco Gauff is a Grand Slam champion.
The 19-year-old American secured her first major women's singles title at the 2023 US Open Saturday, defeating Belarus' Aryna Sablenka in a three-set slugfest and making her the youngest American to win since Serena Williams in 1999.
"I feel a little bit in shock at this moment," Gauff told the crowd after her win. "That French Open loss was a heartbreak for me, and that makes this moment even more sweeter than I could imagine."
Gauff's eventual win was looking unlikely after the first set, with 25-year-old Sabalenka, the reigning Australian Open champ, outplaying her and taking it 6-2. But the teen's confidence steadily grew through the second set, particularly after a major break midway through. One epic point even led to impressed claps from Sabalenka, as Gauff egged on the adoring crowd for bigger cheers.
The New York City crowd, unsurprisingly, heavily favored Gauff, with echoing chants of "Let's go, Coco," breaking out multiple times late in the second set, which she eventually won 6-3.
Gauff came out blazing in the third — she immediately broke Sabalenka, then held serve before breaking her again.
Gauff won another break late in the set, allowing her to serve for the win, 6-2. The teen collapsed to the court, before running into the stands to hug her parents and team in emotional embraces.
"I'm just thankful for this moment, I don't have any words for it to be honest," she said in the post-match ceremony.
When asked about how she put together her massive comeback, Gauff said "I just knew that if I didn't give it my all I had no shot at winning."
Gauff went on to thank her parents — laughingly exposing her dad: "This is the first time I've ever seen my dad cry — he doesn't want me to tell you that."
She also gave a nod to "the people who didn't believe in me."
"To those who thought they were putting water on my fire, you were really adding gas to it."
Her final thank you went to Billie Jean King, who presented her with a check for $3 million on the 50th anniversary of King's successful fight for equal pay at the US Open for women.
"Thank you, Billie, for fighting for this," Gauff said.
It was the culmination of an incredible two months for Gauff, which saw her winning two WTA tournaments. She also came back from what had been a tough French Open defeat in 2022, her only other Grand Slam final before Saturday.
It was a star-studded afternoon — the celebrities turning out for Gauff and Sabalenka included Diane Keaton, Nicole Kidman, Quinta Brunson, Amanda Seyfried, Laverne Cox, Mindy Kaling, Kevin Durant, Rachel Brosnahan, Spike Lee, Alexandra Daddario, Cara Delevingne and Maria Sharapova. Charlize Theron, though, got the loudest cheers from the crowd as she danced to the Black Eyed Peas.
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