At the age of just 19, Coco Gauff surprised the New York fans on Saturday night by winning her first grand slam championship at the US Open in her hometown.
The kid has already demonstrated potential as a future major champion during a run at Wimbledon in 2019.
She was unable to explain a sharp decline in form as she lost in the first round at the same event this summer a few weeks prior as she left the court.
However, just like with Emma Raducanu in 2021, it turned out to be another youthful romance of New York as Gauff defeated Aryna Sabalenka 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 after appearing out of sorts in the first set.
She later remarked, “It means so much to me. I feel a little bit shocked right now.
Her father took her to the US Open for the first time when she was a young child to watch her idols, the Williams sisters.
She was quick to embrace Brad Gilbert, who had recently joined her coaching staff and was clearly having a positive impact, as well as her parents in emotional scenes after the game in the same Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Gilbert, who had yelled “fight, fight, fight” when the American lost the first set, appeared a little dejected as she made her way back to her seat at the conclusion of that match.
In the first set, there were several breaks as Sabalenka alternated between hitting a string of powerful groundstrokes that scared the fans, who were briefly quieted when she won the first set.
Both players had a shaky start to the second set, but Gauff broke first this time to take a 3-1 lead.
She instantly appeared refreshed where she had before appeared dejected.
That resurgence was due just as much to Sabalenka’s high error rate as it was to her rival’s improved play.
Since neither player quite brought his best game to the table at the same time, this final wasn’t nearly the classic.
But crucially, as the game went on, it was the home favourite who delivered the goods at crucial times.
At a crucial moment in the second, she attempted to energise the crowd by requesting more noise, which they dutifully responded to when she won the following point.
In the third set, she again received an early break, but despite her best efforts, Sabalenka was unable to claw her way back into the match.
The fact that the Belarusian will replace Gauff as the world’s top player on Monday when the rankings are updated does little to comfort the athlete.