Robin White and Shelby Cannon, strangers until one hour before the entry deadline, teamed up to win the U.S. Open mixed doubles title today.
In the first U.S. mixed doubles final between unseeded teams in the Open era, White and Cannon defeated another all-American team of Meredith McGrath and Rick Leach 3-6 6-2 7-5.
Crucial Service Break
The White-Cannon team claimed victory with a crucial break of McGrath's service in the 11th game of the third set to share $34,000.
Leach and McGrath earned $8,000 each but McGrath, an 18-year-old freshman at Stanford University, can only accept tournament expenses as a reward in order to retain her National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) eligibility.
White, who won the U.S. Open women's doubles title last year with Gigi Fernandez, said of this year's mixed doubles partnership: "We teamed together all by accident.
"I didn't have a partner one hour before entry deadline and called the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) looking for someone.
"All I knew about Shelby was what the back of his head looked like from riding in the car that brought us to the Tennis Center."
"I was trying to get into the draw with Wendy White," said the 23-year-old Cannon after winning his first grand slam title of any kind. "But we didn't have enough points (to qualify)."
"Robin asked me and we entered," he continued. "She helped with her points and Wendy understood."
Leach said Cannon and White played surprisingly well for two people who had never played together.