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First major tennis championship claimed by Delray Beach native Coco Gauff at U.S. Open

NEW YORK — Three months ago, tennis legend Chris Evert predicted Coco Gauff was on the verge of winning a significant tennis tournament.

On Saturday within the finals of the U.S. Open, the 19-year-old Delray Beach resident proved Chrissie true. Gauff rallied to defeat second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 and can take home her first major trophy.

“After I saw her play at 15 years old at Wimbledon and beat Venus Williams, I needless to say thought by now she would have won a significant,” Evert said in June while attending the Billie Jean King Cup qualifier on the Delray Beach Tennis Center. “Nevertheless it’s probably higher for her because it is not happening overnight, she’s not a flash within the pan. She’s just going progressively on her path in a slower way. I feel that is going to profit her in the long term.”

Coco Gauff, of the United States, reacts after defeating Aryna Sabalenka, of Belarus, to win the women's singles final of the U.S. Open tennis championships, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023, in New York.

More:Coco Gauff wins US Open championship: 8 things to learn about Delray Beach tennis star

Before a raucous crowd that was loud from start to complete, Gauff became the primary American teenager to win the country’s major tennis tournament since Serena Williams, who also lives in Palm Beach County, in 1999. If last 12 months’s U.S. Open was all about saying goodbye to Williams as she competed for the ultimate time, this 12 months’s two weeks in Recent York become a “Welcome to the massive time!” for Gauff.

That is the form of triumph that had — fairly or not — been expected of Gauff ever since she burst onto the scene at 15 by becoming the youngest qualifier in Wimbledon history and making it to the fourth round in her Grand Slam debut in 2019.

Coco Gauff of the United States (left) greets Aryna Sabalenka after the women's singles final on day thirteen of the 2023 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center on Sept. 9, 2023, in New York City.

“You probably did it!” Gauff’s mom told her Saturday, each in tears.

After dropping the primary set, Gauff shook off early match nerves and bounced back to win the second set. She then took a 4-0 lead in the ultimate set before putting it away. She has nine wins in Grand Slams after losing the primary set.

Coco Gauff’:Her grandmother was the primary Black student at a Delray Beach school

Gauff was seeded sixth entering the tournament, but she got here in with a whole lot of confidence, playing higher than anyone on the WTA Tour. She was coming off a profession run in the course of the WTA’s American summer hardcourt series, winning titles in Washington, D.C., and the largest Open tune-up on the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati the weekend before the U.S. Open began.

Coco Gauff of Delray Beach reacts after winning a point against Aryna Sabalenka in the women's singles final Saturday at the 2023 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center.

She also had a brand new coaching team in former Spanish tour player Pere Riba and Brad Gilbert. After losing in the primary round at Wimbledon, she has an 18-1 record.

Gauff led Sabalenka 3-2 of their series history. Nevertheless, Sabalenka took probably the most recent one, 6-4, 6-0, at Indian Wells in March.  

More:Billie Jean King Cup: Tennis legend raves about Coco Gauff, can envision her as future president

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