American Coco Gauff, 19, won her first Grand Slam title, after taking the U.S. Open women’s singles title in three sets against Aryna Sabalenka from Belarus.
Gauff won 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 to become only the third American teen to win the final grand slam of the year, joining the ranks of Serena Williams and Tracy Austin.
The last time an American woman won the tournament was in 2017 when Sloane Stephens bested fellow American Madison Keys.
“I feel like I’m a little bit in shock in this moment,” Gauff said during on-court remarks following the win.
“I’m just thankful for this moment, I don’t have any words for it, to be honest,” she said.
After winning, Gauff ran into the stands to hug her parents, coach and other guests of her player’s box. Gauff said today was the first time she’s ever seen her father
The teen also made a pointed statement to the naysayers, saying, “Thank you to the people who didn’t believe in me.”
“To those who thought they were putting water on my fire, you were putting gas,” she said.
The championship match marked the first appearance by both athletes in a U.S. Open 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.
With the win, the Florida phenom is 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 U.S. Open 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.
Even with the loss, Sabalenka will become the No. 1 women’s tennis player in the world when the Women’s Tennis Association’s rankings are updated next week. Gauff’s rank will become No. 3.
Saturday’s champion will take home $3 million, while the runner-up will claim $1.5 million.
Gauff reached the championship after beating Karolina Muchova, of the Czech Republic, in two sets on Thursday. The match was delayed for nearly an hour after four spectators protested against climate change. Two of the protesters were arrested.
Sabalenka defeated Keys on Thursday in three sets — two of which were tiebreakers — to reach the U.S. Open final.
“I’m most proud that I was able to most of the times handle my emotions pretty well and focus on myself, not on the ranking,” a tearful Sabalenka said of her year in on-court remarks Saturday.
She said Gauff “played unbelievable” and that she hopes she and Gauff “play many more finals — different results, hopefully,” laughing. “Congrats, you’re amazing.”
ABC News’ Joshua Hoyos contributed to this report.