Coco Gauff’s destiny was fulfilled as she came back from a set down to defeat Aryna Sabalenka and win the US Open in Flushing Meadows in New York.
The 19-year-old became the first American teenager since Serena Williams in 1999 to win at Flushing Meadows.
Sabalenka will be the new world No. 1 on Monday, capping off a successful year in which she won the Australian Open and advanced to the semi-finals of the French Open and Wimbledon.
But that will be scant consolation for the 25-year-old from Belarus after she put herself in a position to win her second Grand Slam title only to fold as Gauff claimed her first, thrilling a raucous crowd with a memorable victory at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Gauff, who reached her first slam final at Roland Garros last summer, losing heavily to Iga Swiatek, said: “It means so much to me, I feel like I’m a little bit in shock. My French Open [final] loss was a heart-breaker for me, but God puts you through trials and tribulations and that makes this even sweeter.”
“I just knew if I didn’t give it my all I had no shot at winning. Aryna is an incredible player and deserves to be number one.”
Taking the microphone and before receiving the trophy from Billie Jean King on the 50th anniversary of equal prize money, Gauff said: “Thank you first to my parents.
Today was the first time I ever saw my dad cry. He thinks he’s so hard but…he took took me to this tournament when I was young to watch Serena and Venus (Williams) compete, so it’s incredible to be on this stage.
“Thank you so much to my team. I know it’s been a long month but your faith has never wavered.
“And thank you to the people who didn’t believe in me. I tried my best to carry this with grace. To those who thought you were putting water on my fire, you were really adding gas to it and now I’m burning so bright.”