In a little more than a week, Harri Heliovaara and Anna Danilina went from being strangers at the sign-in table to being the most unexpected winners of the US Open.
The chance meeting led to a last-minute partnership in New York, which helped them beat top seeds Jessica Pegula and Austin Krajicek in the mixed doubles final.
Before he agreed to work with Danilina, Heliovaara from Finland said he had “never even seen” the Kazakh.
They talked briefly about who would play on which side of the court about 10 minutes before their first game.
But they only lost one set, and that was in their first match against sixth seeds Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Matthew Ebden. After that, they won five matches in a row and won the tournament in a fairytale-like 10 days.
“I don’t know how to thank my partner. After their 6-3, 6-4 win on Saturday, Danilina said, “It was a great run.”
“I don’t know what to say. A lot more.”
“I also have to thank my partner,” Heliovaara said. She’s the reason why we’re all here.
“Two weeks ago, I didn’t know you. Now I know a lot about you. Anna, thank you very much.”