New York — Carlos Alcaraz Use his combination of moxie and maturity to win Casper Road 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (1), 6-3 in the US Open final on Sunday to win his first Grand Slam title at the age of 19 and become the youngest man to ever earn the top spot.
Alcaraz is a Spaniard who has appeared in his eighth and second major tournament at Flushing Meadows but has already attracted a lot of attention as one of them was considered the next big thing in men’s tennis. He’s the youngest man to win a major title since then Rafael Nadal He was the same age at the 2005 French Open, and the youngest at the US Open at 19 years old Pete Sampras in 1990.
He was sung by choruses of “Ole, Ole, Ole! Carlos!” that echoed from the closed ceiling at Arthur Ashe Stadium – the karaz often signaled to the supportive spectators for a louder sound.
He showed signs of fatigue only briefly from having to pass three straight fives to get to the title match, something no one in New York had done in 30 years. He spent a total of 23 hours, 40 minutes on the field in the tournament, the most during any major tournament since the beginning of 2000.
The carder dropped out of the second set and faced a pair of group points, while he fell 6-5 in the third set. But he wiped out every one of those defining opportunities for Rod with the kinds of quick, reflexive, soft kicks he was projecting over and over again. Aided by a series of choppy blows by a tight-lipped Rod in the tiebreak that followed, Alcaraz climbed to the end of that set.
One break in the fourth game was all it took for Alcaraz to win the only Grand Slam final between two players striving for their first major slam and first place in the computerized ATP rankings, which dates back to 1973.
Ruud is 23 years old from Norway and is now 0-2 in the slam finals. He was Nadal’s runner-up at the French Open in June.
Rod stood way back near the wall to replay, but also during the points track, much more so than Alcaraz, who attacked when he could. Alcaraz went after Rod’s weaker side, the backhand, and had success that way, especially while serving.
If nothing else, Rudd took home the Sportsmanship Award for conceding a point he knew he didn’t deserve. It came as he trailed 4-3 in the first set; He raced forward toward a short ball that bounced twice before being touched by Rod’s racket.
Play continued, Alcaraz hesitated and then made a mistake in his response. But Rudd told the presiding judge what had happened, and gave the point to Alcaraz, who gave his opponent his thumbs up and applauded with onlookers to acknowledge the move.
Alcaraz certainly appears to be a rare talent, possessing enviable game across all pitches, and a combination of groundbreaking power with a willingness to go ahead and lock points with his shooting ability. He got 34 out of 45 points when he went to the net on Sunday. He’s a threat on serve—he sent 14 aces at 128mph on Sunday—and came back, earning 11 break points, and converting three.
Make no mistake: Rod is no slouch either. There’s a reason he’s the youngest player since Nadal to reach two major finals in a season and win 55 points, the longest point in the tournament, in Friday’s semi-final.
But this was Alcaraz’s time to shine, and his role to show speed, stamina, skill and awesomeness, to the champion.
When one of the last-serve winners looked out of Rudd’s tire, Alcaraz fell onto his back on the court, then flipped onto his stomach, covering his face with his hands. Then he went to the stands for a hug with his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero, the former player who won the 2003 French Open and reached the US Open final that year, and others cry all the time.
You can reach #1 for the first time only once. You win your first Grand Slam title only once. Many people expect Alcaraz to celebrate these kinds of heroic deeds for years to come.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.