NEW YORK — Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka are both focused on their promising singles careers.
But if they’re going to play doubles, they may as well win a Grand Slam tournament. Mertens and Sabalenka defeated Victoria Azarenka and Ash Barty 7-5, 7-5 on Sunday at Arthur Ashe Stadium to win the U.S. Open women’s doubles championship. Mertens and Sabalenka lost only one set in the tournament and won their first Grand Slam title as a team. The fourth-seeded team faced only one other seeded team on their way to the title.
“From the start of the season, start of the year actually, we were like, we’re going to play together,” Mertens said. “We didn’t think we would achieve this big thing.”
Mertens was defeated in singles play in the quarterfinals by eventual champion Bianca Andreescu.
“Even if we lose singles, and it’s always tough, we still committed to play doubles,” Mertens said. “Of course in a Grand Slam you want to win, you want to win matches. You want to win this title. So we’re just 100 percent committed to both. Of course, singles is a priority still.”
The US Open set an attendance record for the event with 737,872 fans over the two weeks of the main draw. Arthur Ashe Stadium sold out 23 of 24 sessions.
Maria Camila Osorio Serrano found out winning a championship has its perks. The U.S. Open juniors champion walked into the media room and asked, “Aca se ha sentado Federer?”
Yes, Roger Federer did sit in that same seat.
Serrano took the junior singles title with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Alexandra Yepifanova.
Asked her celebratory plans, the 17-year-old out of Colombia quipped, “party.”
“No, I’m kidding. I’m not 18 yet,” she said, smiling. “I need to be 21. I need to wait a little bit. Maybe when I get back to Colombia. Party.”
Jonas Forejtek of the Czech Republic won the other junior championship on Saturday with a 6-7 (4), 6-0, 6-2 victory over Emilio Nava.
Alfie Hewett won his second straight wheelchair men’s title with a 7-6 (9), 7-6 (5) victory over Stephane Houdet. The 48-year-old Houdet became the oldest male to play in a Grand Slam singles final.
Diede de Groot beat Yui Kamiji 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 to win the women’s wheelchair Open championship.