The young Spanish tennis star Carlos Alcaraz fights against the Norwegian Casper Ruud for the title and number one in the world rankings in the final of the US Open in New York. The 19-year-old Alcaraz won his gripping semi-final against the American crowd favorite Frances Tiafoe 6: 7 (6: 8), 6: 3, 6: 1, 6: 7 (5: 7) and 6: 3. Ruud (23) had previously secured his final ticket with a 7: 6 (7: 5), 6: 2, 5: 7 and 6: 2 against the Russian Karen Khachanov.
The winner of the final on Sunday (10 p.m. CEST / Eurosport) not only won his first Grand Slam title, but also replaced the dethroned defending champion Daniil Medvedev from Russia as the leader in the world rankings.
Youngest finalist since 1990
Alcaraz is the youngest US Open finalist since 1990 when USA's Pete Sampras lifted the trophy aged 19 years and 28 days. The Spaniard did not notice the 5:15 hour marathon two days earlier in the quarter-finals against the Italian Jannik Sinner - on the contrary: After the narrowly lost first set, Alcaraz really turned on and deservedly entered his first Grand Slam final .
"We're in the semi-finals of a Grand Slam, so we have to give everything, whether it's for four or five hours," Alcaraz explained of his enormous reserves of strength. Tiafoe fought back tears. "I feel like I've disappointed everyone," said the 24-year-old into the stadium microphone: "I'll be back and I'll win this thing, I'm sorry, guys!"
Tiafoe, who was also cheered on by former First Lady Michelle Obama at Arthur Ashe Stadium, experienced an inexplicable dip in performance in between. The Americans have to wait for the first Grand Slam title for men since 2003 (Andy Roddick). Tiafoe could at least console himself with a US Open record: he was the first professional in history to end the tournament with a flawless tie-break record of 8-0.
Ruud as the first Norwegian in the final
"I'm so happy," said Ruud after his second final in a Grand Slam tournament: "At first we were both a bit nervous, luckily I won the first set." And how: In the set ball, the son of the former Australian Open round of 16 Christian Ruud showed nerves of steel and class in the 55-shot rally. "In the second and fourth," he said, "I played phenomenally".
Already on Saturday (10:00 p.m. CEST/Eurosport) the Polish world number one Iga Swiatek and Wimbledon finalist Ons Jabeur from Tunisia will play for the title in the women's final. "It's going to be a great fight," predicted Swiatek.