Cori Gauff claimed her first career's Grand Slam title, defeating Aryna Sabalenka by 2-6 6-3 6-2 in a big final of the US Open 2023. The 19 years-old American withstood the pressure of being home crowd's favorite in the tournament of the biggest stage and crowned her stunning performance during the hard courts swing in North America. Gauff clinched the major title just after winning the WTA 500 in Washington and WTA 1000 in Cincinnati earlier in the recent weeks, being undoubtedly the best and the most consistent player during this part of the season.
Consistency and smart gameplan were the keys to win
Start of the match was quite erratic on both sides with multiple unforced errors on both sides, but it has finally turned on the favour of Sabalenka. The Belarusian has overplayed her younger opponent since, winning 4 games in a row since the score 2-2 and took the opening set by 6-2. Both the players ended up the opening set with a negative ratio between winners and unforced errors, but the image of this battle has clearly emerged in the way, that Sabalenka is the force, who focuses on hitting hard, while Gauff needs to take care of the defensive tactics to try make a comeback from being a set down.
Sabalenka was close to start the quick runaway with the score, but Gauff managed to defend two breakpoints in the opening game of second set. The American has patiently waited for the moment to put the pressure on her rival and moved up into the lead in second set, gaining the break in 4th game. Sabalenka had a chance to come back level, but Gauff held the serve in the following game despite facing a breakpoint. Playing with a consistent manner till the end of second set, the 19 years-old forced a deciding set.
Despite losing the second set, Sabalenka has not changed her gameplan for this match. The Belarusian was still the one who was trying and seemingly had tools to overhit her opponent, but it did not work out in second set with 16 unforced errors committed. The things did not change in decisive set and got even worse, as Sabalenka could not calibrate the accuracy of her shots, which in combination with resillient and smart play from Gauff, resulted in a quick double-break gap developed by the home crowd's favorite. The new world's number one was still trying to come back from being 0-4 down, but despite making up one break, Gauff has consequently executed her solid performance till the end, sealing the maiden Grand Slam victory. The American has score almost twice less winners than her opponent (13 to 25), but was much more consistent throughout whole the match, committing just 19 unforced errors in compare to 46 made by Sabalenka.
Cori Gauff celebrates an absolute peak of her career right now, as the Grand Slam victory lifted her up into 3rd place in the WTA rankings. Apart from this, Gauff together with Jessica Pegula became the new leaders of the WTA doubles rankings after reaching out the quarterfinals in a parallel doubles tournament in Flushing Meadows. The outcomes of last Grand Slam tournament in 2023 have resulted with some major changes in top areas of the world's ranking. It's known since last week, that Aryna Sabalenka overtakes Iga Swiatek to take the world's number one spot for the first time in her career. The Belarusian owes it to great performance in all the Grand Slam tournaments this year, advancing to the final twice while winning one of it and reaching out the semis in two other major events.
Marketa Vondrousova and Karolina Muchova achieve their peak ranking positions due to deep runs in US Open. Vondrousova has followed her victory at Wimbledon by reaching out the quarters in Flushing Meadows, which lifts her up to 6th place in the rankings. Muchova moves up into 8th after advancing into semis in New York. Last year's conquerors dropped a little bit by not covering their great performance in recent fortnight. Ons Jabeur drops two places down to 7th after deduction of points gained due to being runner-up in 2022. Caroline Garcia still stays in top 10, but just by a little margin, as the French got eliminated in first round this year after her run into semis in 2022.
Madison Keys gains 6 places to move up into 11th after advancing into semifinals, while Jelena Ostapenko comes back to top 20, gaining 5 places due to her run into quarters. The other notable advances in wide top of the rankings are Xin Yu Wang, Peyton Stearns and Katie Boulter. All the three will debut in top 50 on Monday after their good performance in Flushing Meadows. Wang and Stearns have surprisingly advanced into round of 16, which lifts up the Chinese into career's highest 39th place, while the American advances into 44th. Boulter will be the world's number 50, as the best ranked Brit gains 11 places due to her run into 3rd round in New York. Greet Minnen gains the most places in top 100, as the Belgian achieves her career's peak 69th rank, moving up 28 places after advancing into 3rd round out of the qualifying. Another sensational qualifier Yafan Wang, gains 19 spots to come back into top 100, moving up to 95th place.
Still a lot to play for
While all the Grand Slams action is over for this year, the remainder of the season will be under the sign of the race into WTA Finals, which are announced to take place in Mexico's Cancun at the end of October. At this point of the year, the WTA Race ranking gains much more attention than before, as the players from top areas of this list will do their best to sign up into YEC tournament by being in top 8 after the last week of regular season. Sabalenka, Swiatek, Gauff and Elena Rybakina are the 4 players, who are already sure to take part in the WTA finals, as they meet the qualification cut with the points gained so far. The others still need to fight for remaining 4 places in the following weeks, including two 1000s tournaments in Guadalajara and Beijing and some others 500s played in America and Asia till the end of the season. Jessica Pegula can feel safe in terms of advancing into finals, as she stays in 5th spot with quite a big gap behind her. Marketa Vondrousova and Karolina Muchova made a big step to achieve this goal as well, as they are 6th and 7th with more than 900 points cushion right now. Ons Jabeur is 8th and has 475 points gap ahead of Madison Keys, the first one from the chasing pack. Petra Kvitova, Belinda Bencic and Jelena Ostapenko can also be counted in this battle, but they need to perform really well in the following weeks to make up the gap of about 800-900 points to the last granted spot.