Anna Danilina and Harri Heliovaara had never met before and got tossed together at the very last moment into the mixed doubles doubles draw, only to storm through the field at the US Open to win their first Grand Slam title in convincing style on Saturday, beating the experienced top-seeded pair of Jessica Pegula & Austin Krajicek, 6-3 6-4.
Happy to lift the trophy. I also have to thank my partner. [Anna is] the reason why we’re standing here. I didn’t know you two weeks ago, and now I know you very well. Thank you very much, Anna. Harri Heliovaara
The unseeded duo just clicked as a formidable mixed doubles team, both ranked in the Top 30 in doubles on their respective tours, which certainly helped their fairytale run in New York.
Danilina, who is from Kazakhstan and won an NCAA title at the University of Florida in 2017, was in her second Grand Slam final, having lost in the Australian Open women’s doubles final in 2022 alongside Beatriz Haddad Maia from Brazil.
“I want to thank my partner, I have no words. It was an amazing run,” Danilina said during her on-court interview. “I don’t know what to say, It’s been a pleasure. To many more.
“This tournament … it’s been amazing every time I come here in New York. It is one of my favourite tournaments, so [I’m] hoping I come back next year and many, many more.”
Heliovaara, who was ranked in the Top 10 of men’s doubles earlier this year, became the first Finnish man in the Open Era to win a mixed doubles title at the US Open, and is the second Finn after Henri Kontinen, who won the mixed at Wimbledon in 2016 with Britain’s Heather Watson.
“[I] stayed here for a long time, almost three weeks in New York, but it was worth every minute,” Heliovaara said. “Happy to lift the trophy.
“I also have to thank my partner. [Anna is] the reason why we’re standing here. I didn’t know you two weeks ago, and now I know you very well. Thank you very much, Anna.”
The unseeded pair enjoyed a solid start to the final as they consolidated an early break for a 3-0 lead, and they never looked back as they saved all 4 break points they faced before Danilina wrapped up the 31-minute first set with a forehand smash.
Danilina & Heliovaara remained in control as they opened the second set with another break before the Americans got the set back on serve in the 4th game, having raised their level in their efforts to sink their teeth back into the match.
The Americans broke back to level at 2-2, and stayed ahead with incredible shot-making as the set neared to a close, but Danilina & Heliovaara crucially broke at 4-4, giving them the chance to seal the match on serve.
They rose to the occasion in style with a hold to 15 on Heliovaara’s delivery, as Danilina volleyed away a forehand winner they were both going for, to take the surprise win.
Heliovaara jumped for joy in celebration after the final point, and ran around the court.
Pegula & Krajicek were trying to become the first all-American team to win the US Open mixed doubles title since Melanie Oudin & Jack Sock in 2011.