Mary Altaffer / AP
NEW YORK – Carlos Alcaraz used his combination of moxie and maturity to beat Casper Ruud 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (1), 6-3 in the US Open final on Sunday Japan to win his first Grand Slam title at the age of 19 and become the youngest man to be ranked No.
Alcaraz is a Spanish tennis player who appeared in his eighth major and second at Flushing Meadows but gained a lot of attention when he was billed by someone as the Next Big in the pants. men’s racquet.
He was harmonized by the chorus of “Olé, Olé, Olé! Carlos!” that echoes from the closed rooftops at Arthur Ashe Stadium – and Alcaraz often beckons to supportive spectators to get bigger.
He only showed signs of fatigue when he had to go through 3 sets of 5 in a row to get to the title match, something no one has done in New York in 30 years.
Alcaraz dropped the second set and faced a pair of set points while losing 6-5 in the third round. But he wiped out every single one of those scoring opportunities for Ruud with the quick-reflex soft-hand volleys he consistently displayed.
And with help from Ruud’s series of footwork that looked very tight in the next tiebreaker, Alcaraz took the lead at the end of that set.
A break in the fourth round was all it took for Alcaraz to seal the victory in the only Grand Slam final between two players seeking both their first major championship and the top of the computer rankings. of ATP, dating back to 1973.
Ruud is a 23-year-old player from Norway, currently leading 0-2 in Slam finals. He was runner-up against Rafael Nadal at the French Open in June.
Ruud stood back near the wall to return serve, but also in the process of scoring, more than Alcaraz, who attacked when he could.
Alcaraz pursued the weaker side of Ruud, the backhand, and found success that way, especially during serve.
If nothing else, Ruud would receive the sportsmanship award for conceding a point he knew he didn’t deserve. It came while he was leading 4-3 in the first set; he dashed forward a short ball that bounced twice before Ruud’s racket touched it.
The game continued, and Alcaraz hesitated and then refused his response. But Ruud told the presiding umpire what had happened, giving the point to Alcaraz, who gave his opponent a thumbs up and immediately clapped along with the spectators in recognition of the action.
Alcaraz is certainly a rare talent, possessing enviable on-field play, blending the power of his ground strike with his ability to shoot from distance and finish with his volley. He won 34 out of 45 points when he went into the net to pick up the ball on Sunday.
He was a threat during serve – he delivered 14 aces at up to 128 mph on Sunday – and came back, earning 11 break points, converting three.
Make no mistake: Ruud is not lazy either. There’s a reason he’s the youngest player since Nadal to reach two major finals in a single season and take 55 shots, the tournament’s longest, in Friday’s semi-final.
But this is where Alcaraz shines, his turn to show the speed and stamina, luxury skill and strength, of a champion.
When the final winner glanced away from Ruud’s goal, Alcaraz fell back onto the field, then lay on his stomach, covering his face with his hands.
He then stepped into the stands to embrace his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero, the former No. 1 winner of the 2003 French Open and US Open final that year, among others, crying the whole time.
You only get 1st place in the first one once. You only win your first Grand Slam title once. Many expect Alcaraz to celebrate these achievements for many years to come.