NEW YORK, NY, USA - Just over a year since a horrific knee injury at Wimbledon left her in crutches, Bethanie Mattek-Sands is a Grand Slam champion for the eighth time, partnering with Jamie Murray to claim the US Open mixed doubles title.
The pair rallied to a match tiebreak after dropping the opening set, and turned around a 1-4 deficit to defeat Alicja Rosolska and Nikola Mektic, 2-6, 6-3, 11-9.
For Mattek-Sands, the victory comes nearly a year and two months after rupturing and dislocating her kneecap at 2017 Wimbledon, an injury which left her unable to walk or play tennis for months.
“It was a little emotional getting that win,” Mattek-Sands admitted in the post-match press conference. “I thought I did a really good job throughout all the matches, kind of putting that aside and just going out there and playing tennis.
“I didn't think about winning a title months ago. I was too far away from that. My win had to be bending my knee from 90 degrees to 95. That had to be good enough. If I thought about holding a US Open trophy last year, I would have been discouraged.
“That's how we got here: it's match by match, point by point. It's how I've gotten here, is taking those little wins every day from last year at Wimbledon and really choosing my attitude. I really had to look at myself in the mirror and decide how I wanted to wake up every day despite my circumstances not being how I envisioned them.
“I think I just kept that philosophy throughout my rehab, throughout my comeback. And here I am, sitting next to Jamie holding the trophy.”
Mattek-Sands and Murray had to battle past a determined unseeded duo of Rosolska and Mektic. The Polish-Croatian team got on the board early, powering to a 3-1 lead and breaking a second time to seal the opening set.
The second set was tightly contested, with no break points on offer for the first seven games until Mattek-Sands and Murray edged ahead at 5-3 to send the match into a decider.
Mattek-Sands and Murray turned around a 1-4 deficit in the nail biting match tiebreak, and went on to create match points at 9-6, but Rosolska-Mektic fought their way back to level the score. An acrobatic lob volley from Mattek-Sands brought up a fourth match point, and they closed out the match after an hour and 21 minutes to claim the US Open mixed doubles title.