Carlos Alcaraz is a Grand Slam champion at age 19 after rolling to a 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (1), 6-3 victory over fifth-seeded Casper Ruud in the U.S. Open final on Sunday at New York.
Alcaraz, who delivered 14 aces, also ascended to No. 1 in the world rankings and became the youngest to win a Grand Slam since countryman Rafael Nadal (also 19) in 2005.
The Spaniard became the youngest player ever to be ranked No. 1. The old mark was held by Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt, who rose to the top at age 20 in 2001 during his Hall of Fame career.
Alcaraz had eight of his aces in the final set. He had 55 winners against 41 unforced errors.
Ruud, 23, had never been in a major final before losing to Rafael Nadal for the French Open title in June. He had 37 winners and 29 unforced errors.
Alcaraz broke Ruud’s service when the Norwegian hit long to take a 4-2 lead in the fourth set. Alcaraz won the next game to close in on the prize.
But Ruud pitched a shutout in the eighth game to make it 5-3, giving Alcaraz the opportunity to serve for the title. He won the first two points before hitting an open slam into the net.
Alcaraz bounced back with an ace but hit a ball long on his first match point. Then he wound up and hit a scorching serve that Ruud couldn’t handle to close out the match.
Alcaraz won the opening set but Ruud stepped on with a strong second set, including winning the final four games. Ruud made just five errors in the second set while Alcaraz committed 10.
Ruud held 5-4 and 6-5 leads in the third set but couldn’t close it out. Alcaraz saved two set points before winning the game and forcing a tiebreaker. He then dominated the tiebreaker, winning 7-1 to take a 2-1 lead.
–Field Level Media