Winner of the American Frances Tiafoe 6-7 (6/8), 6-3, 6-1, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3 this Friday, Carlos Alcaraz offered himself the right to play a first Grand Slam final this Sunday, at the US Open. The winner of this match against Casper Ruud will win his first Major and will be the new world number one.
Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, fourth in the world, qualified for the US Open on Friday for his first Grand Slam final by dismissing American Frances Tiafoe (26th) 6-7 (6/8), 6-3, 6 -1, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3 and can become the youngest world number one if he wins the title.
Alcaraz, 19, will face Norwegian Casper Ruud (7th at 23) in the final on Sunday and the winner will replace Russian Daniil Medvedev at the top of the world hierarchy. “It’s incredible to be able to fight for such big goals, to aim for a first Major, the first place in the world,” commented the Spaniard. So far, only Pete Sampras has won the US Open before he turns 20. “Casper has already played a final at Roland-Garros, it will be my first. I will give my all, I will have to control my nerves given the context, but I will take advantage of the moment and we will see what happens, he added.
Winner in the quarter-finals against Jannik Sinner of the second longest match in the history of the tournament (5:15 a.m.) and which, having started on Wednesday, ended at 2:50 a.m. Thursday (no match had ever ended so late in the history of the tournament), Alcaraz initially took a long time to settle against Tiafoe.
“When we play in the semi-finals of a Major, we have to give everything, fight until the last ball, no matter if it lasts five, six hours… Frances gave everything on the court, it’s incredible”, he explained at the end of a new grueling 4:19 showdown during which the players offered the public a car of dazzling exchanges.
In the first set, Alcaraz had two break points to lead 4-3, but it was the American who won his service game, before getting a first set point at 6-5, saved by the Spaniard after an exceptional exchange. In the tie-break, Alcaraz gave the mini-break to his opponent on a double fault who led 6 points to 3. Alcaraz saved the three set points, but then offered the set on a new double fault.
At 2-2 in the second set, Alcaraz sped up and Tiafoe scored just two of the next 14 games, trailing two sets to one and 2-0 in the fourth set. The swing happened at 3-2 and 40A on Tiafoe’s serve: the American aimed Alcaraz at the net, but the Spaniard avoided the ball which went out of bounds and thus obtained his second break point, which he converted this time before continuing on a series of victorious games. But Tiafoe regained his footing in the fourth set: the two players exchanged their faceoffs twice in quick succession to arrive at 3-3.
Then the American saved a match point at 5-4 on his serve, with a remarkable retro counter-damping after a spectacular exchange where he was manhandled. He then equalized at 5-5 and won the tie-break by taking advantage of an attack from Alcaraz in the corridor.
Tiafoe thus won his eighth tie-break of the tournament for as many played, a record at the US Open (Pete Sampras had won seven without losing a single one in 2000). Alcaraz then took over to lead 2-0 in the decisive set, but Tiafoe with a very aggressive backhand return on a second serve from the Spaniard broke to come back at 2-2.
However, he committed on his service game following a double fault which again allowed his opponent to take the advantage. And at 5-3 on the service of Tiafoe, Alcaraz got three new match points at 0/40: he concluded on the third, the fourth in total.
“I gave everything, but Carlos was too strong tonight,” admitted Tiafoe, in tears before leaving the Arthur-Ashe court. “This one really hurts, I feel like I let you down, I’ll come back and I’ll win this tournament one day,” he told the audience, including former First Lady Michelle Obama. , came to support him.