With the World No. 1 ranking and his first Grand Slam title on the line, Carlos Alcaraz took down Casper Ruud 6–4, 2–6, 7–6(1), 6–3 on Sunday to win the U.S. Open.
With the victory, the 19-year-old became the youngest men’s player in the Open Era to hold the No. 1 ranking. Alcaraz had won four previous tournaments this season, including in Barcelona ahead of the French Open, where he upset Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in back-to-back matches.
His five titles and 51 tour wins make him the winningest player on tour this season.
Coincidentally, Nadal, who is one of Alcaraz’s tennis idols, captured his first Grand Slam title at age 19.
Alcaraz beat Ruud at the Miami Open back in March in the finals. Sunday’s U.S. Open final marked the third time the two have played each other, and now Alcaraz has emerged victorious all three times.
The young tennis star competed in quite the week of matches leading up to the final on Sunday. In the round of 16 on Monday, Alcaraz survived a five-set match against No. 15 and 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Čilić.
Then, on Wednesday, Alcaraz faced another young superstar in Jannik Sinner in a five-set battle. The match didn’t end until after 2 a.m. New York time, mostly because it included two tiebreaks. Alcaraz even trailed 2–1 after three sets but recovered to win.
In the semifinal, the Spaniard saw one of his toughest battles yet while competing against American underdog Frances Tiafoe in another five-set match. The two sets Alcaraz lost were both tiebreaks.
At Sunday’s final, Alcaraz took the first set in around an hour, winning 6–4. The only time he trailed was after the first game that Ruud served.
Ruud turned things around in the second set when he completed his first break of serve against Alcaraz to go up 4–2. He continued to dominate in the second set by winning 6–2.
The Spaniard opened up the third set by taking a quick break over Ruud. However, after Alcaraz went up 2–0, Ruud responded by winning the next three games.
It was a back-and-forth battle after that, as the two opponents continued to win their serving games. It took Alcaraz five deuces to force the set into a tiebreak. The 19-year-old dominated in the tiebreak, winning a quick 7–1 to take the third set.
The fourth set opened up with another close contest. The turning point came when Alcaraz broke Ruud to go up 4–2. He then won his own service game. Even though the Norwegian took one more game, Alcaraz finished the match winning 6–3 in the final set.
Despite the loss, Ruud will rank at No. 2 on Monday when the ATP rankings are updated.
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