New York, USA - Still with a young frame and boyish face, 17-year-old Brazilian Joao Fonseca exhibits the sort of experienced approach of a seasoned professional. This past weekend it helped him become the 2023 US Open Junior Boys' champion.
Fonseca, who is already ranked No. 656 on the ATP Tour, had only reached the quarterfinals of a junior Grand Slam event previously. In contrast, his final opponent Learner Tien (USA), was runner-up at the Australian Open earlier this year, while also reaching the semi-finals at Roland-Garros.
"I did quarter[finals] Australia, Roland-Garros and Wimbledon," Fonseca explained. "When I made the quarters this time, I just thought, 'I don't want to lose again here.'"
It was in the first set of the final against Tien that Fonseca later said he was "too intense" for, the American winning is 6-4. But the Brazilian teen didn't panic, and actually said he was able to relax more into the match in set two.
The turning point of the match came in the 10th game of that second set. With Tien serving at 4-5, Fonseca came back from 40-0 to earn a set point to send the match into a decider. Fonseca took his chance, clocking a backhand winner to claim the set and sending the crowd into a chorus of Portuguese cheers for the Brazilian.
Fonseca said he felt a surge of energy from the set, and used that feeling to begin the third.
"[I turned] to the crowd for energy and [to get] strength for the third set," he recalled. "He [was] playing better, but I was playing more aggressively... and missing more. But I was playing more aggressive and that made me more confident, gave me more courage. That's what made the difference.”
Fonseca looked unafraid of making mistakes as the third set got underway, and drew more and more support from the crowd, giving the passionate and calm young Brazilian even more energy.
He slammed an inside out forehand winner to clinch the victory, collapsing to the court.
As he got up and raised his hands, the Brazilian chants roared as if inside a football stadium. The South American nation already has a rich history of tennis, but Fonseca's first junior major title announces him as a new star-in-the-making. He beat Tien 4-6 6-4 6-3.
The queen of wheelchair tennis extends her dynasty
Diede de Groot (NED), the current queen of women's wheelchair tennis, lifted another trophy in New York, too.
Her opponent in the final was longtime rival Yui Kamiji (JPN). The Japanese left hander's consistency was offset by the powerful ground game of de Groot, including on the return. Her 6-2 6-2 win extended de Groot's major winning streak to 13, dating back to the US Open 2020 and marking her third consecutive year winning the calendar Grand Slam.
"It's one of those funny things where you sort of get used to it, the special feeling," de Groot explained. "I saw Coco win yesterday [and] the first time will always be the best one."
"I know at this point [the work] I do for it every day," she added. "And I know it's not a coincidence that I won [only] one Slam... I can do it over and over and over again."
But de Groot is proving her greatness time and again, especially as the expectation grows for her to win at every outing.
Doubles delight: Wins for Dabrowski, Heliovaara
Gabriela Dabrowski (CAN), teaming up with Erin Routliffe (NZL) for the first time, captured her first major in women's doubles, adding two previous majors in mixed doubles. She and Routliffe beat Laura Siegemund (GER) and Vera Zvonareva in two hours and 15 minutes, 7-6(9) 6-3.
"I can retire happy at some point now," Dabrowski said of her maiden women's doubles triumph. "That's what this means to me."
Later Routliffe quipped, "Not now?" A laughing Dabrowski responded: "Not now, but at some point I can retire relieved."
It was a first-time partnership for Yonex Team member Harri Heliovaara (FIN) with Anna Danilina (KAZ), the mixed doubles duo having never met before they signed in to play the event together in New York. They beat the all-American duo of Jessica Pegula and Austin Krajicek 6-3 6-4, a first major title for Heliovaara and Danilina both.
Team Yonex has taken 8 wins in total, wrapping up a successful final Grand Slam of the year.
Jessica Pegula (USA) | EZONE 98[LINK]