Alcaraz Does It Again, Wins In 5 Over Tiafoe, Sets Ruud US Open Final For No. 1
Carlos Alcaraz won his third straight five set matches knocking out Frances Tiafoe 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-3 to reach his very first Grand Slam final.
“To be honest in the semi-final of a Grand Slam you have to give everything… we have to fight until the last ball. It doesn’t matter if we are fighting for five hours, six hours. It doesn’t matter. You have to give everything on court,” Alcaraz said. “Frances gave everything on court. This is amazing.”
The 19-year-old becomes the youngest man to reach a Slam final since his idol Rafael Nadal at the 2005 French, and the the youngest at the US Open since Pete Sampras won it in 1990.
Tiafoe was playing tough in the first set despite his serving woes, and he stayed perfect in breakers taking the opening set.
With the crowd buzzing, Alcaraz would stop all momentum with a break for 4-2. He saved break points again and then got into a groove, racing out to a break lead in the fourth before Tiafoe woke up.
Chanting for Alcaraz got Tiafoe off the mat down 2-0 in the fourth, and the 24-year-old broke back and eventually won his 8th straight tiebreaker, a US Open record.
After missing a match point in the fourth, Alcaraz took the air right out breaking immediately to start the fifth. Up 2-0, Tiafoe once again got back on serve but going for the lead he was broken for a last time at 3-2. After 4 hours, 19 minutes, Alcaraz was into his first Grand Slam final.
“It’s amazing to be able to fight for big things. First time in the final of a Grand Slam. I can see the No. 1 in the world, but at the same time it’s so far away,” Alcaraz said. “I have one more to go against a player who is unbelievable. He deserves to play a final. He played the final of a Grand Slam in Roland Garros. This is my first time.
“I’m going to give everything that I have. I will have to handle the nerves of being in a final of a Grand Slam, but obviously I’m really, really happy and as I said before every match, I’m going to enjoy. I’m going to enjoy the moment and let’s see what happens.”
The Spaniard has now won three straight five set matches and he improves to 8-1 in 5-setters.
In the early final, Casper Ruud dispatched Karen Khachanov riding his serve to a 7-6(5), 6-2, 5-7, 6-2. The 23-year-old Ruud became the first Norwegian man to make the US Open semifinal, and it’s his second Slam final.
“This match today was another great match from my side,” Ruud told the crowd. “I think we were both a bit nervous at the beginning, a few breaks back and forth. But you have to take into account that this match is probably the biggest in both of our careers. Of course there will also be some nerves but I was fortunate to win that first set, which calmed my nerves a little bit.
“I played phenomenal in the second and Karen stepped up in the third. It was back and forth like every five-setter is, but I am just so happy. After Roland Garros I was extremely happy but of course humble enough to think that could be my only final at a Grand Slam in my career. It doesn’t come easy, but here I am back again a couple [of] months later.”
After an incredible 55-shot rally to give him the first, Ruud dominated in the second winning every point on serve. Khachanov got into it late in the fourth with a break, but then Ruud rebounded to cruise in the fourth.
Against Ruud, the winner will not only become a Grand Slam champion but a new No. 1 on Monday.
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