Carlos Alcaraz won the US Open to become the youngest men’s player to be ranked World Number One in a fully stacked Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday.
With this win, the youngster registered his name in the history books. This was the Spaniard’s first major title win after beating Casper Rudd in a four-set match. Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud met in the US Open final, both looking for their first Grand Slam championship and the world No. 1 ranking, the first time the two men competed for the same honours. Alcaraz, 19, lifted the trophy, making him the youngest number one and the first teenager to do it. He was on the court for a total of 23 hours and 40 minutes. The 19-year-old Spaniard overcame Norwegian Casper Ruud 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(1), 6-3 to win his maiden major title and make his debut as the world number one. Stumbling for words after the win, Alcaraz said that he had always dreamt to be number one and worked hard to be where he is.
“It’s something that I dreamed of since I was a kid, to be number one in the world, to be the champion of a Grand Slam. It’s something that I worked really, really hard. It’s tough to talk right now, a lot of emotions,” Alcaraz said during the trophy ceremony. Alcaraz completed his marathon run with a three-hour, 20-minute triumph, after reaching the final via a trio of five-setters, each concluding late in the New York night.
Alcaraz and Ruud wowed the packed Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd with equal parts speed and agility, strength and control, baseline finesse and frontcourt sorcery.
Both the ace tennis stars were aggressive off the return in an entertaining start, and both saved a pair of break points in their first service games. Alcaraz, who delivered crucial serves throughout, broke through from 15-40 with four massive serves, three unreturned and one quickly followed by a forehand winner. Before the first changeover, the Spaniard earned the key break in set one, then erased another break point to consolidate. Alcaraz finished the opening set, directing a subtle fist pump towards Rudd before marching to his bench.
Rudd living dangerously in the second set but broke through in the sixth game, earning four straight points from 30-0 for his first break of the match. On three of those exchanges, he successfully attacked the net and countered Alcaraz’s backhand saving his second break point of the set for 5-2. He’d break for the set again, ripping off four straight games to tie the match, an immensely satisfying overhead sealing the deal.
Alcaraz swiftly turned tables and seemed to run away with set three, but Ruud fought back after denying a break point that would have given his opponent a 3-0 lead. That was the set’s only break point until Alcaraz saved two at 5-6 with gutsy drop-volleys. The Spaniard won 34 of 45 net points, while Ruud was equally effective in the frontcourt, earning 23 of 36 net approaches.
Alcaraz’s first tiebreak win of the fortnight put him in pole position in a final of firsts. He had to save two set chances at 5-6 in the third set just to get there, before sending the fans into a frenzy with a drop shot-lob-overhead sequence to escape a five-deuce game–the longest of the match. Ruud was unable to maintain his high level in the decisive tiebreak, making six errors, four of which were unforced, as he dropped seven straight points after starting with an ace.
The Spaniard broke for 4-2 in the fourth set, then used two aces to escape 0-30 for 5-2. After his 13th and 14th aces helped him earn a double championship point, he delivered a 125-mph service which sealed the victory for him. The eventual winner finished with 55 winners and 41 unforced errors, while Ruud had a perfect 37-to-29 ratio. By making the joint-largest climb to the top place, Alcaraz, 19, became the youngest world No. 1 in the ATP rankings’ history (since 1973).