Alcaraz defeats Roode to win the US Open, achieve his first Grand Slam, and take first place

NEW YORK – As Carlos Alcaraz knocked out his first Grand Slam final at the age of 19, he hit the fists of fans leaning on a handrail along the road to Arthur Ashe Stadium. Moments later, after tossing the coin, Alcaraz switched to running back to the baseline to warm up, until he was brought back to the net by the chair umpire for the usual pre-match photos.

The karaz is imbued with boundless enthusiasm and energy, not to mention skill, speed and stamina. He is now the US Open champion and number one player in men’s tennis.

Using his uncommon combination of moxie and maturity, Alcaraz beat Casper Ruud 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (1), 6-3 on Sunday to win the trophy at Flushing Meadows and become the youngest player to lead the ATP ratings.

“Well, that’s something I’ve dreamed about since I was a kid,” said Alcaraz, who people of a certain age might still consider a kid. “It’s something I’ve really worked hard for. It’s hard to talk now. So many feelings.”

Alcaraz has already attracted a lot of attention as someone who is considered the next big thing in a sport that has been dominated for decades by Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

The Spaniard sang choruses of “Olé, Olé, Olé! Carlos!” reverberating from the square’s enclosed ceiling – and the château often urged onlookers to raise their voice. There were two magic dots that elicited applause while standing, including one that Alcaraz lost with the laser to a forehand while sprinting while he ended up on his stomach.

He showed signs of fatigue only briefly from having to pass three straight fives in the three rounds just before the final; No one has gone that hard on their way to the title in New York in 30 years.

Alcaraz went five sets against 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic in the fourth round, finishing at 2:23 a.m. Tuesday. against Yannick Sener in the quarterfinals, a 5-hour 15-minute action thriller that ended at 2:50 a.m. Friday after Alcaraz needed to save match point; And against Francis Tiafoe in the semi-finals.

“You have to give everything in court. You have to give everything you have on the inside. You worked really hard to earn it,” Alcaraz said. “Not time to get tired.”

But this wasn’t a picnic to the end.

The carder dropped out of the second set and faced a pair of group points, while he fell 6-5 in the third set. It could be a moment of change of outcome.

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.

The winner was guaranteed to be first in Monday’s rankings; The loser was guaranteed to take second place.

“Carlos and I, we knew what we were playing for. We knew what was at stake,” Rudd said. I’m disappointed, of course, that I’m not No. 1, but No. 2 isn’t bad either.”

The 23-year-old is from Norway and is now 0-2 in the slam finals. He was Nadal’s runner-up at the French Open in June.

Like Nadal, Rudd stood back near the wall to serve back, but also during Sunday’s 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.

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 touching his racket. Play continued, Alcaraz hesitated and then made a mistake in his response. Rudd told the presiding judge what had happened, and gave the point to Alcaraz, who gave his opponent his thumbs up and applauded with the audience.

Alcaraz certainly appears to be a rare talent, possessing an all-around game, a combination of ground-breaking power with a willingness to move forward. He scored 34 of the 45 points he finished on the net.

He’s becoming increasingly threatening while serving — he’s made 14 aces at up to 128 mph — and back, earning 11 break points, and a three-point conversion.

Make no mistake: Rod is no slouch. There is a reason why he is the youngest player since Nadal to reach two major finals in a season and manage to win 55 points, the longest point in the tournament, in the semi-finals.

But this was the time for Alcaraz to shine under the spotlight.

Some perspective: He’s the first teenager to win the US Open since Pete Sampras in 1990 and the first to win any since Nadal at the 2005 French Open.

This is a respectable company.

Another way to understand how far Alacaraz has progressed: The last man to win this championship in his first or second appearance was Pancho Gonzalez in 1948, before the pros were allowed onto the field.

For the context of the rankings, it is useful to know that Novak Djokovic did not play in the US Open or the Australian Open this year, was unable to enter those countries because he had not been vaccinated against COVID-19, and did not receive any boost to his rankings. Wimbledon because no points were offered to anyone after the All England Club banned athletes from Russia and Belarus due to the invasion of Ukraine.

Regardless of the circumstances, it is important that Alkaraz is the first male teenager in the first position.

No one else did it. Neither Nadal, nor Djokovic, nor Federer, nor Sampras. no one.

When one of the last-serve winners looked out of Rudd’s tire on Sunday, Alcaraz fell on his back on the court, then flipped onto his stomach, covering his face with his hands.

He went to the stands for a hug with his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero, the same former player who won the 2003 French Open and reached the US Open final that year, others crying 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.