Later this month, Katherine Hui of the United States will start her freshman year at Stanford University as the 2023 US Open junior singles champion.
Hui defeated No.9 seed Tereza Valentova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-4 on Saturday to claim her first Grand Slam junior title, in just her second Grand Slam junior event. Hui did not drop a set during her run to the trophy.
"It was my last junior tournament, so I really wanted to make the best of it," Hui said afterwards. "I knew [Valentova] was going to come out and fight, and I knew that I was capable of it as long as I trusted myself. I think I fought really well. I'm really proud of the way I played."
Hui, who was her high school's valedictorian this year, is the second wild card to reach the US Open junior girls' singles final in the last seven years. The other wild card in that time frame: 13-year-old Coco Gauff, who finished runner-up to Amanda Anisimova in the 2017 junior singles final.
As it turned out, while 18-year-old Hui was playing for the junior title, 19-year-old Gauff was winning her first Grand Slam women's singles title on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
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"I was cheering Coco on, but when I went on, I think she was 3-0 in the third," Hui said. "I didn't know what happened after, but I heard some really loud roars come across, so I just assumed she won.
"She's obviously such a big inspiration to me. I never met her or anything, but just being that young and accomplishing so much with so much, probably, pressure is amazing."
Two weeks ago, Hui played one round in qualifying for the US Open women's singles -- she earned a wild card into the qualies after finishing as runner-up at the USTA Girls 18s National Championships. Despite losing her qualifying match, she made the most of a marquee occasion.
"I played [2014 Wimbledon finalist] Genie Bouchard first round of qualies, and I think I honestly dedicate a lot of this win to her," Hui smiled. "I had learned a lot.
"Obviously [Bouchard] takes balls early and steps in and was hitting really deep. I kind of took inspiration from that, and I have been here since then practicing on-site. ... It really helped me, and I'm really glad that I was able to execute it this time."
Thunderstorms interrupted the final at 1-1 and delayed the restart for hours, but upon resumption, Hui won 71 percent of Valentova's second-service points, which brought her five breaks of serve in the 1-hour and 43-minute encounter (not including the weather delays).
Valentova battled back from 5-1 down to 5-4 in the second set, and Hui saw six championship points erased by the 16-year-old Czech. But on her seventh championship point, Hui forced a long service return to capture the trophy.
"I think I did get some nerves," Hui said. "It was a little bit of that, and I think she did step up and I give her a lot of credit for it. I think she started playing really freely. But I think I handled it well, and I was able to pull it out at the end by staying solid."
Anastasiia Gureva and Mara Gae capture the Girls' Doubles title! pic.twitter.com/WaTdov8hEY— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 10, 2023
The US Open junior doubles title was also decided on Saturday. No.8 seeds Mara Gae and Anastasiia Gureva won both their semifinal and final in match-tiebreaks on Saturday to claim the championship in the weather-delayed doubles draw.
Gae and Gureva needed to go down to the wire twice in one day, beating Hayu Kinoshita and Wakana Sonobe 2-6, 6-3, [10-7] in the semifinals, and defeating Sara Saito and Nanaka Sato 1-6, 7-5, [10-8] in the final.