An emotional Madison Keys was able to find the positives in her US Open run despite suffering a straight-sets defeat in the final to Sloane Stephens.
Keys, seeded 15th, headed into the final as favourite having seen off Coco Vandeweghe in the last four.
But she was second best by some distance in the Flushing Meadows showpiece as Stephens, who had been ranked a lowly 957th in the world back in July, produced a stunning display to claim her maiden grand slam title with a 6-3 6-0 win.
Keys has had to overcome her own difficulties in 2017 having been hampered by a wrist injury, and was able to put her achievement into perspective in spite of the evident pain of defeat.
"I have had a very interesting year, really rough start, surgery in the middle of it, the whole time I had this amazing team behind me," Keys said at the trophy presentation.
"If you told me two months ago I'd be holding a finalist's trophy for the US Open I'd be really happy and proud of myself."
"If there's someone I have to lose to, I'm glad it's [Sloane]"
Stephens and Keys shared a warm embrace at the net upon the conclusion of the 61-minute contest on Arthur Ashe.
And Keys said of Stephens: "Sloane is truly one of my favourite people, to get to play her was really special.
"Obviously I didn't play my best tennis and was disappointed but, Sloane being the great friend that she was, was very supportive and, if there's someone I have to lose to, I'm glad it's her."
Asked what the all-American final said about the state of tennis in the country, Keys quipped: "We both have trophies, so I guess that says a lot."