US Open: Alcaraz takes first major title to become youngest world number one

By Sports Desk September 11, 2022

Carlos Alcaraz defeated Casper Ruud in four sets to win his first major at the US Open and make history in moving to the top of the ATP rankings.

Either Alcaraz or Ruud would have taken the world number one spot had they won at Flushing Meadows, and it was the 19-year-old who prevailed 6-4 2-6 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 on Sunday.

The teenager – the second-youngest New York champion of the Open Era after Pete Sampras – therefore became the youngest ever men's number one.

Alcaraz had come through five-set matches in each of the prior three rounds, and he was again worked hard by Ruud – the new number two.

Ultimately, though, the highly talented Spaniard had the staying power to win his first grand slam title, becoming the first teenager to do so since Rafael Nadal at the 2005 French Open.

Despite the draining efforts of previous nights, Alcaraz made a rapid start, quickly forging three break points in the third game of the match and taking the second of them.

Ruud did little else wrong in the first set but had to bide his time to respond, losing the opener and fending off an opportunity for a break in the second before immediately applying pressure going the other way.

The Norwegian reached an Alcaraz drop shot and lobbed his opponent before watching the backhand reply land long to lead, although three unforced errors in the next game almost let Alcaraz back in.

Instead, Ruud dug in and then profited when a sloppy Alcaraz service game allowed him to clinch the second set.

Alcaraz responded in sublime fashion, immediately piling on the pressure in the third frame and breaking down Ruud's defence with a pinpoint drop shot, yet the set was level again when he crashed into the net, with a sensational rally required to reach a tie-break.

A couple of wild Ruud strokes decided the 73-minute set in Alcaraz's favour, though, and the fifth seed went long in the fourth to set his opponent on course, with an emotional victory secured in ruthless style.

Data Slam: Marathon man Carlos crowned in New York

Only the third player to reach the US Open final after winning in five sets in each of the prior three rounds, Alcaraz avoided seeing another match going all the way – even if past results suggest that would have worked in his favour.

Regardless, Alcaraz set a new record for the most time spent on court at a major tournament. Since 1999, when this data was first available, Kevin Anderson's 2018 Wimbledon run had previously represented the benchmark.

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Alcaraz – 14/3
Ruud – 4/2

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Alcaraz – 55/41
Ruud – 37/29

BREAK POINTS WON

Alcaraz – 3/11
Ruud – 3/10

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