Alcaraz Ascends To No. 1, Wins US Open Title Over Ruud
Carlos Alcaraz is the new king of tennis. Just 19, the Spaniard collected his first career Grand Slam title Sunday night topping Casper Ruud 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(1), 6-3. The title also gives him the new No. 1 ranking making him the youngest player to sit atop the men’s ranking.
“It is something I have dreamt of since I was a kid. To be No. 1 in the world, to be champion of a Grand Slam, is something I have worked really, really hard,” Alcaraz told the crowd. “It is tough to talk right now, I have lots of emotions. This is something I have tried to achieve. All the hard work I have done with my team and my family. I am just 19 years old, all the tough decisions have been with my parents and my team as well. It is something that is really special for me.”
Ruud came into the final having never taken a set off the teen in two previous matches, including the Miami final.
But this was a different Ruud today. He aimed his potent forehand at the Alcaraz backhand and frustrated his foe coming up with strong service returns.
However, Alcaraz managed to break in the very first game to take a lead he would never relinquish in the first set.
Ruud finally began executing in the second, using his serve and his forehand. Ruud would save break chances to hold for 3-2 then break Alcaraz to get his first real lead of the match. Serving 4-2 Ruud against escaped from Alcaraz, and then broke to level.
A match we had!
With Alcaraz perhaps feeling the pain of over 21 hours of tennis at that point plus consecutive 2am finishes, Ruud was looking the stronger player.
The two exchanged early breaks and then player even-steven until Alcaraz’s 5-6 game. Ruud had two set points but was denied. And in the breaker, Alcaraz won the last seven points.
Serving 2-3 in the fourth, Ruud’s hope crashed as Alcaraz soared behind his serve which he amped up.
“It’s crazy for me. I’ve never thought that I was going to achieve something like that at 19 years old. So everything came so fast,” Alcaraz said. “For me it’s unbelievable. It’s something I dream since I was a kid, since I start playing tennis.”
Ruud missed out on No. 1 and falls to 0-2 in Slam finals. But he’ll rank No. 2 and will be in the No. 1 chase down the stretch.
“Things have been going so well. Today was a special evening,” Ruud said on court. “Both Carlos and I knew what we were playing for and what was at stake. We will be No. 2 and No. 1 in the world tomorrow, I think it is fitting. I am disappointed of course that I am not No. 1, but No. 2 is not bad either. I am happy with that number and I will continue to chase for my first Grand Slam title and No. 1 ranking.”
Alcaraz is the youngest Slam winner since Rafael Nadal in 2005 and the youngest at the US Open since Pete Sampras in 1990. Both those players are legends. Alcaraz wants to join them.
“Right now I’m enjoying the moment,” said Alcaraz. “I’m enjoying having the trophy in my hands.
“But of course I’m hungry for more. I want to be at the top for many, many weeks. I hope many years. I’m going to work hard again after these amazing two weeks. I’m going to fight to have more of this.”
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