NEW YORK, NY, USA - A journey which began hovering nervously around the referee's office ended with Laura Siegemund and Mate Pavic hoisting aloft their first Grand Slam trophy on tennis' grandest stage.
In front of an unashamedly partisan Arthur Ashe crowd, Siegemund and Pavic spoiled the party by upsetting No.7 seeds CoCo Vandeweghe and Rajeev Ram, 6-4, 6-4.
"I'm just stunned a little bit at this point. I'm very happy. I think we played a great match today, Siegemund said. "We did play a great tournament. All the other matches were, yeah, very solid also in the important situations, although we never played together.
"So it's just amazing that even in the finals we could just play the same, you know, stay focused and stick to the system that was working the whole week. He was, as the British say, cool as a cucumber. He was cooler than me maybe at times. I was very glad about that."
Despite both teams carving out several chances, the first set went on serve until 4-4, when a costly mistake at the net from Vandeweghe led to the decisive break. The unseeded duo continued to exert the pressure in the second set breaking Vandeweghe to secure a milestone victory.
"In all the matches that we played, we broke the guy's serve a lot of times," Pavic said. "Like even today Rajeev was serving big and we broke his serve twice.
"We were putting the balls back, returning good, makes the them feel pressure and then it's not easy to make the point. So I think that make a huge difference in all the matches that we played so far."
Rewind to last Monday, with the noon deadline for mixed doubles sign-in fast approaching, both Pavic and Siegemund were without a partner. In fact, an under the weather Siegemind was seriously contemplating not playing at all.
"It's really kind of a blind date. Honestly, I didn't know him before. We don't have too many combined events and I'm just starting to play the big ones, combined events," Siegemund said. "I have never seen him or heard his name.
"I was not sure if I was gonna play because I wasn't feeling very well at that point. But I still - I mean, I love the game of mixed, so I really wanted to play."
Luckily for Pavic, the German's love of doubles trumped concerns over her lingering ill health: "It was still a week till the first match of mixed, so I was hoping that someone would, you know, trust me that I would maybe get better!
"He was the only one that was very relaxed about the situation and also didn't have a partner yet. So he didn't have a lot of options. The cut is kind of high. Weren't really a lot of girls around that were looking."
Mixed doubles results contribute towards neither ATP nor WTA rankings, so despite her success alongside Pavic, Siegemund's doubles ranking remains outside the Top 50. Bizarrely, this could lead to the pair failing to make the cut-off for the Australian Open.
The 32-team field at each major is determined by adding together each partner's pre-tournament singles or doubles ranking, whichever is better. The 25 pairs with the lowest combined ranking are directly accepted into the draw, and seven more pairs are given wildcards.
The uncertainty, though, has done nothing to puncture Siegemund's enthusiasm: "I think it's hard. I had the situation for quite some time that I really wanted to play mixed, but I was just out of the cut.
"I really think it's a little bit sad, yeah, that even we would have to see now if we get in in the Australian Open, for example. I think we should definitely play more together!"
They had never met before.
They didn't know who one another was.
But now Siegemund-Pavic are in Mixed Dubs Final. pic.twitter.com/Kw6W3yjXCp
? ESPNTennis (@ESPNTennis) September 9, 2016