Mary Altaffer / AP
NEW YORK – Carlos Alcaraz used his mixture of moxie and maturity to beat Casper Ruud 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (1), 6-3 within the US Open closing on Sunday to earn his first Grand Slam title at age 19 and change into the youngest man to be ranked No. 1.
Alcaraz is a Spaniard who was showing in his eighth main match and second at Flushing Meadows however already has attracted loads of consideration as somebody thought of the Subsequent Massive Factor in males’s tennis.
He was serenaded by choruses of “Olé, Olé, Olé! Carlos!” that reverberated off the closed roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium – and Alcaraz typically motioned to the supportive spectators to get louder.
He solely briefly confirmed indicators of fatigue from having to get by three consecutive five-setters to succeed in the title match, one thing nobody had accomplished in New York in 30 years.
Alcaraz dropped the second set and confronted a pair of set factors whereas down 6-5 within the third. However he erased every of these point-from-the-set alternatives for Ruud with the kinds of quick-reflex, soft-hand volleys he repeatedly displayed.
And with assist from a collection of shanked pictures by a tight-looking Ruud within the ensuing tiebreaker, Alcaraz surged to the top of that set.
One break within the fourth was all it took for Alcaraz to seal the victory in the one Grand Slam closing between two gamers looking for each a primary main championship and the highest spot within the ATP’s computerized rankings, which date to 1973.
Ruud is a 23-year-old from Norway who’s now 0-2 in Slam finals. He was the runner-up to Rafael Nadal on the French Open in June.
Ruud stood manner again close to the wall to return serve, but in addition in the course of the course of factors, way more so than Alcaraz, who attacked when he may.
Alcaraz went after Ruud’s weaker aspect, the backhand, and located success that manner, particularly whereas serving.
If nothing else, Ruud will get the sportsmanship award for conceding a degree he knew he did not deserve. It got here whereas he was trailing 4-3 within the first set; he raced ahead to a brief ball that bounced twice earlier than Ruud’s racket touched it.
Play continued, and Alcaraz hesitated then flubbed his response. However Ruud instructed the chair umpire what had occurred, giving the purpose to Alcaraz, who gave his foe a thumbs-up and applauded proper together with the spectators to acknowledge the transfer.
Alcaraz definitely appears to be a uncommon expertise, possessing an enviable all-court recreation, a mix of groundstroke energy with a willingness to push ahead and shut factors together with his volleying means. He received 34 of 45 factors when he went to the web Sunday.
He’s a risk whereas serving – he delivered 14 aces at as much as 128 mph on Sunday – and returning, incomes 11 break factors, changing three.
Make no mistake: Ruud isn’t any slouch, both. There is a cause he’s the youngest man since Nadal to get to 2 main finals in a single season and managed to win a 55-shot level, the longest of the match, within the semifinals Friday.
However this was Alcaraz’s time to shine, his flip to indicate off the velocity and stamina, the talent and sangfroid, of a champion.
When one final service winner glanced off Ruud’s body, Alcaraz dropped to his again on the court docket, then rolled over onto his abdomen, protecting his face together with his palms.
Then he went into the stands for hugs together with his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero, a former No. 1 himself who received the French Open in 2003 and reached the ultimate of that yr’s US Open, and others, crying all of the whereas.
You solely get to No. 1 for the primary time as soon as. You solely win a primary Grand Slam title as soon as. Many people count on Alcaraz to be celebrating these kinds of feats for years to return.