NEW YORK — Jack Sock waited and waited for the ball to come down. When it finally landed out, he dropped his racket and ran arms outstretched toward Melanie Oudin.
The American teenagers captured the U.S. Open mixed doubles championship Friday, beating eighth-seeded Gisela Dulko and Eduardo Schwank of Argentina in a tiebreak to chants of "U-S-A."
Oudin and Sock won 7-6 (4), 4-6, 10-8 (tiebreak) in front of a sparse crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium after the men's singles quarterfinals.
"Worked really well because he jokes a lot when we're playing and he keeps me relaxed, and sometimes that's what I have been having trouble with, is staying relaxed playing," Oudin said. "Then I'm very positive, so that helps him."
They had never played together before and needed a wild card to even get in the tournament. In the first round, they faced match point. In the second round, they faced top-seeded defending champs Bob Bryan and Liezel Huber.
Now they'll split $150,000.
"They're so young," Dulko said. "It's unbelievable what they did."
Despite their youth, the two aren't exactly strangers to the spotlight at Flushing Meadows. The 18-year-old Sock won a junior title in boys singles at last year's Open, then earned his first Grand Slam singles victory in the first round this year before being eliminated by Andy Roddick.
The 19-year-old Oudin was the darling of the 2009 U.S. Open, reaching the women's quarterfinals. But she's struggled to find consistency since.
"I feel like I have been playing pretty well playing mixed doubles. A lot of those things, like my serve and returning, is very important in singles," Oudin said. "I will have a lot more confidence, I think, going into my next singles matches coming up."
The two Argentines had never played mixed doubles together, either. The 26-year-old Dulko won her first Grand Slam women's doubles title with Flavia Pennetta at this year's Australian Open. Schwank, 25, was a finalist in men's doubles at the French Open with Juan Sebastian Cabal.
The Americans took a 8-5 lead in the tiebreak thanks to back-to-back mistakes by their opponents. Schwank hit a volley wide, then Dulko double-faulted.
Things got wild after Oudin and Sock earned triple match point. Schwank's first serve was ruled out; he challenged and the call stood. His second serve glanced off the tape and was also ruled out, which would have been a match-ending double-fault. He challenged again, and this time the call was overturned.
Schwank was awarded a first serve, then easily won the next two points on his serve to pull within 9-8, leaving Sock to try to serve out the match.
"I feel like I have been serving pretty well all week actually in mixed and even in singles, so I was very comfortable serving," Sock said.
He landed a big first serve, and Schwank's popped-up return carried just long. A final review confirmed that it was indeed out.