Carlos Alcaraz & Rafael Nadal Make ATP Rankings History

Carlos Alcaraz and his childhood idol have combined for a ranktastic moment…

The 19-year-old Spanish tennis player, currently ranked No. 1 in the world, and No. 2 Rafael Nadal are the first countrymen to top the ATP rankings in 22 years.

Carlos AlcarazAnd Alcaraz and Nadal are the first men from somewhere other than the United States to sit at 1-2 since the tour introduced computerized rankings in 1973.

Alcaraz rose to the top spot by winning the US Open last month for his first Grand Slam title, becoming the youngest man ever to be No. 1.

Nadal is a 36-year-old Spaniard who has spent 209 weeks atop the rankings and owns a men’s-record 22 major championships, including at the Australian Open in January and the French Open in June. He rose from No. 3 to No. 2 on Monday, swapping places with US Open runner-up Casper Ruud.

The last time players from the same country held Nos. 1 and 2 in the ATP rankings was in August 2000, when Americans Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras did it.

“Proud to share this historic moment with @RafaelNadal, the best player of all-time,” Alcaraz wrote in Spanish on Twitter.

Carlos Alcaraz Wins US Open Title to Become Youngest Man to Lead ATP Rankings

Carlos Alcaraz has doubled up on his significant achievements…

The 19-year-old Spanish tennis player defeated Casper Ruud 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (1), 6-3 to claim his first Grand Slam title at the US Open, in his first appearance in a Grand Slam final no less.

Carlos AlcarazIn the process, Alcaraz is now the No. 1 player in men’s tennis.

Alcaraz used his combination of moxie and maturity to Ruud for the trophy at Flushing Meadows and become the youngest man to lead the ATP rankings.

“Well, this is something that I dreamed of since I was a kid,” said Alcaraz, whom folks of a certain age might still consider a kid. “It’s something I worked really, really hard [for]. It’s tough to talk right now. A lot of emotions.”

Appearing in his eighth major tournament and second at Flushing Meadows, Alcaraz has attracted plenty of attention as someone considered the next big thing in men’s tennis.

He’s the youngest man to win a major title since Rafael Nadal was the same age at the 2005 French Open, and the youngest at the US Open since 19-year-old Pete Sampras in 1990.

“He’s one of these few rare talents that comes up every now and then in sports. That’s what it seems like,” said Ruud, a 23-year-old from Norway. “Let’s see how his career develops, but it’s going all in the right direction.”

Alcaraz was serenaded by choruses of “Ole, Ole, Ole! Carlos!” that reverberated off the closed roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium — and he often motioned to the supportive spectators to get louder.

He only briefly showed signs of fatigue from having to get through three consecutive five-setters to reach the title match, something no one had done in New York in 30 years. He spent a total of 23 hours, 40 minutes on court in the tournament, the most by any men’s player during any one major tournament since the start of 2000.

Alcaraz went five sets against 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic in the fourth round, ending at 2:23 a.m. Tuesday; against Jannik Sinner in the quarterfinals, a 5-hour, 15-minute thriller that ended at 2:50 a.m. Friday after Alcaraz needed to save a match point; and against Frances Tiafoe in the semifinals.

“You have to give everything on court. You have to give everything you have inside. I worked really, really hard to earn it,” Alcaraz said after the final. “It’s not time to be tired.”

This was not a stroll to the finish, though.

Alcaraz dropped the second set and faced a pair of set points while down 6-5 in the third. But he erased each of those point-from-the-set opportunities for Ruud with the sorts of quick-reflex, soft-hand volleys he repeatedly displayed. And with help from a series of shanked shots by a tight-looking Ruud in the ensuing tiebreaker, Alcaraz surged to the end of that set.

“He just played too good on those points. We’ve seen it many times before: He steps up when he needs to,” Ruud said. ‘When it’s close, he pulls out great shots.”

One break in the fourth was all it took for Alcaraz to seal the victory in the only Grand Slam final between two players seeking both a first major championship and the top spot in the ATP’s computerized rankings, which date to 1973.

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

“Both Carlos and I, we knew what we were playing for. We knew what was at stake,” Ruud said. “I think it’s fitting. I’m disappointed, of course, that I’m not No. 1, but No. 2 is not too bad, either.”

He is now 0-2 in Slam finals after being runner-up to Nadal at the French Open in June.

Ruud stood way back near the wall to return serve, but also during the course of points, much more so than Alcaraz, who attacked when he could. Alcaraz went after Ruud’s weaker side, the backhand, and found success that way, especially while serving.

If nothing else, Ruud gets the sportsmanship award for conceding a point he knew he didn’t deserve. It came while he was trailing 4-3 in the first set; he raced forward to a short ball that bounced twice before Ruud’s racket touched it.

Play continued, and Alcaraz hesitated and then flubbed his response. But Ruud told the chair umpire what had happened, giving the point to Alcaraz, who gave his foe a thumbs-up and applauded right along with the spectators to acknowledge the move.

Alcaraz certainly seems to be a rare talent, possessing an enviable all-court game, a blend of groundstroke power with a willingness to push forward and close points with his volleying ability. He won 34 of 45 points when he went to the net Sunday. He is a threat while serving — he delivered 14 aces at up to 128 mph on Sunday — and returning, earning 11 break points, converting three.

Alcaraz, Ruud said, showed “incredible fighting spirit and will to win.”

Make no mistake: Ruud is no slouch, either. There’s a reason he is the youngest man since Nadal to get to two major finals in one season and managed to win a 55-shot point, the longest of the tournament, in the semifinals Friday.

But this was Alcaraz’s time to shine under the lights.

For context on the rankings, it is helpful to know that Novak Djokovic did not play at the US Open or Australian Open this year, unable to enter those countries because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19, and did not receive any ranking boost for his Wimbledon championship because no points were on offer for anyone after the All England Club banned athletes from Russia and Belarus over the invasion of Ukraine.

Regardless of the circumstances, it is significant that Alcaraz is the first male teenager at No. 1. No one else did it. Not Nadal, not Djokovic, not Federer, not Sampras. No one.

When one last service winner glanced off Ruud’s frame, Alcaraz dropped to his back on the court, then rolled over onto his stomach, covering his face with his hands. Then he went into the stands for hugs with his coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero, a former No. 1 himself who won the French Open in 2003 and reached the final of that year’s US Open, and others, crying all the while.

You get to No. 1 for the first time only once. You win a first Grand Slam title only once. Many folks expect Alcaraz to be celebrating these sorts of feats for years to come.

Carlos Alcaraz Outlasts Frances Tiafoe at US Open to Reach His First-Ever Grand Slam Final

Carlos Alcaraz continues his historic run at the US Open

In another five-set match, the 19-year-old Spanish professional tennis player defeated Frances Tiafoe on Friday night, 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-3, to move through to the first Grand Slam final of his career.

Carlos Alcaraz With the win, Alcaraz has become only the second teenager in the entire Open Era to reach the men’s final at Flushing Meadows.

Alcaraz had previously registered back-to-back five-set victories in his last two rounds against Marin Cilic and Jannik Sinner—two of the five latest finishes in the tournament’s history.

YOUNGEST US OPEN MEN’S FINALISTS IN THE OPEN ERA:

  • 19 years, 1 month: Pete Sampras (1990 champion)
  • 19 years, 4 months: Carlos Alcaraz (2022, result TBD)
  • 20 years, 3 months: Bjorn Borg (1976 runner-up)
  • 20 years, 4 months: Novak Djokovic (2007 runner-up)
  • 20 years, 5 months: Andre Agassi (1990 runner-up)

Having reached the quarterfinals in his US Open debut last year, Alcaraz is also just the fourth man in the Open Era to reach the final in their second appearance at the US Open, joining Tom Okker in 1968, Jan Kodes in 1971 and Miloslav Mecir in 1986—all of whom finished runner-up. No man has ever reached the final in their debut appearance.

Alcaraz, whose win over Tiafoe was his ATP-leading 50th win of the year, is now guaranteed to rise to either No. 1 or No. 2 on the ATP rankings after the tournament.

If he defeats Casper Ruud in the final, he’ll be No. 1 and Ruud No. 2; if Ruud beats him in the final, the Norwegian will be No. 1 and the Spaniard No. 2.

Carlos Alcaraz Outlasts Marin Cilic to Reach US Open Quarterfinals & World No. 1 Hopes Alive

Carlos Alcaraz is one step closer to tennis history…

The 19-year-old Spanish professional tennis player defeated 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic in the fourth round of the grand slam tournament, as he continues his march towards becoming the youngest World No. 1 in ATP Rankings history.

Carlos AlcarazAlcaraz, the third seed at the US Open, outlasted the former World No. 3 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows for the second consecutive year.

“Honestly, I have no idea,” Alcaraz said of how he won the match. “It was pretty, pretty tough at the beginning of the fifth set [being a] break down. But Marin was playing unbelievable. I believe in myself all the time. Of course the support today in Arthur Ashe [Stadium] was crazy. Without you guys, it wouldn’t be possible to win this match tonight, so thank you very much for the support tonight, thank you.

“I would say 100 per cent of the energy I put in the fifth set was thanks to you. It was unbelievable.”

For a moment, Alcaraz’s tournament hopes of reaching No. 1 on 12 September were slipping away. Cilic caught fire from the baseline and powered his way back into the match to force a decider and led by a break early in the fifth set. But Alcaraz showed his competitive spirit and immediately struck back before surging to the finish after three hours and 53 minutes.

“After a fourth set [when] I had a lot of opportunities… it was tough for me to come back in the fifth set, to stay strong mentally,” Alcaraz said. “But as I said, the energy that I received today made me win.”

With Daniil Medvedev and Rafael Nadal losing over the past two days, the stakes have been raised for Alcaraz in New York. Not only is the teen pursuing his maiden Grand Slam title — he is also trying to ascend to the pinnacle of men’s tennis.

If the Spaniard reaches the final and Casper Ruud does not, Alcaraz will climb to World No. 1 on the Monday after the US Open. If Ruud makes the final and Alcaraz does not, the Norwegian will ascend to the top spot. If both men make the championship match, the winner will depart with the trophy and World No. 1. Alcaraz is up to No. 2 in the ATP Live Rankings.

Alcaraz was focused on the player in front of him in the fourth round, Cilic, and he needed to be. The Spaniard withstood a barrage of booming groundstrokes from the Croatian in the early hours of the morning and found some of his best tennis when it mattered most. Alcaraz dropped to his knees to celebrate his victory and both players shared special moments with the remaining crowd inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, thanking the fans on their way off the court.

Early in the fourth set, the dynamics of the match changed when Alcaraz began to return Cilic’s serve from near the back wall, allowing the 33-year-old to take the first big strike in rallies. Alcaraz was left scrambling to avoid playing defence against his aggressive opponent.

When Alcaraz missed a forehand to go down a break in the fifth set, Cilic appeared in control. The Croatian has plenty of experience in difficult moments and was the only Grand Slam champion remaining in the draw.

But Alcaraz’s resolve never waned. The third seed continued battling and that paid dividends when he found an incredible angle to get back on serve. He never looked back from there, finding a way through the clash in which he struck 28 winners and converted six of his 18 break points.

Next up for the Spaniard will be 11th seed Jannik Sinner, another former Next Gen ATP Finals champion. The Italian also needed five sets to win his fourth-round match.

“I played a couple of times against him. He’s a great player, a really, really tough one,” said Alcaraz, who trails their ATP Head2Head series 1-2. “I lost twice in the past two months, so I will have to be ready for this battle against Jannik.”

Pablo Carreno Busta Defeats Hubert Hurkacz at National Bank Open to Claim First ATP Masters 1000 Title

Pablo Carreno Busta has claimed his first-ever ATP Masters 1000 title…

The 31-year-old Spanish tennis player won the National Bank Open on Sunday, beating eighth-seeded Hubert Hurkacz of Poland 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Pablo Carreno BustaWith the win, Carreno Busta becomes the first unseeded winner in the event since Argentina’s Guillermo Canas in 2002.

Carreno Busta won his seventh ATP Tour title with his first Masters 1000 victory.

The 23rd-ranked Carreno Busta improved to 7-5 in final appearances. Hurkacz fell to 5-1.

Unseeded Reilly Opelka reached the final last year in Toronto, then lost to Daniil Medvedev.

Roberto Bautista Agut Defeats Filip Misolic to Win Generali Open Title

It’s Lucky No. 11 for Roberto Bautista Agut

The 34-year-old Spanish tennis plater cruised past wildcard Filip Misolic 6-2, 6-2 in the final of the Generali Open on Saturday to claim his 11th ATP Tour title.

Roberto Bautista AgutBautista Agut lifted his second trophy this year after Doha in his 21st career final. It was only his second on clay after Stuttgart in 2014.

“It was a very long time since I won a title on clay,” Bautista Agut said. “It’s very special for me, because I’ve done a lot of good work on this surface.”

Bautista Agut was dominant, breaking Misolic twice in each set.

“I enjoyed the final, I managed the pressure very well,” Bautista Agut said. “I knew I was a little bit the favorite today, but he had so many good wins this tournament. I played a very good match.”

Earlier Saturday, Misolic had to complete his semifinal against Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann that was suspended a day earlier due to rain. Misolic led Hanfmann 1-0 in their third-set tiebreaker.

The 20-year-old Austrian prevailed to advance to the final in his first ATP tournament.

Carlos Alcaraz Defeats Giulio Zeppieri to Reach Croatia Open Final

Carlos Alcaraz continues leading the tennis pack this year…

The 19-year-old Spanish tennis player overcame a second-set scare on the way to defeating qualifier Giulio Zeppieri 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 to advance to his seventh career ATP final at the Croatia Open on Saturday.

Carlos AlcarazWith the victory, Alcaraz as earned a spot in his tour-leading sixth final of the year.

“It’s amazing to be in a final here again,” said Alcaraz, who won his maiden ATP title here last year.

He overcame his first dropped set in the clay-court tournament and a roll of his ankle in the semifinal against the 20-year-old Italian player.

“At the moment it is good,” Alcaraz said about his ankle. “I don’t feel too much right now. Let’s see tonight or tomorrow morning, but I am going to say I will be ready for the final.”

In his first real test in Umag after two straight-set victories, Alcaraz converted six of his 15 break points while Zeppieri, who didn’t win a tour-level match before this week, broke him four times.

Sunday’s final against second-seeded Jannik Sinner will be Alcaraz’s 100th match on the tour.

Sinner eased past fellow Italian player Franco Agamenone, a qualifier, 6-1, 6-3 to advance to his first ATP Tour final this year and eighth overall.

Francisco Cerundolo Wins First-Ever ATP Tour Title at Nordea Open

Francisco Cerundolo is officially an ATP Tour titlist…

The 23-year-old Argentine professional tennis player defeated compatriot Sebastian Baez in straight sets 7-6 (4), 6-2, to clinch his maiden title at the Nordea Open on Sunday.

Francisco CerundoloCerundolo, playing in just his second ATP Tour singles final, dropped serve in the opening game of the first set, but the 23-year-old recovered well as he won his fourth straight sets victory over the tournament.

“It feels amazing,” Cerundolo said. “First of all, I want to congratulate Sebastian, not just for this week. You’ve been playing amazing since last year.

“[Winning the title] means a lot. Since you are a child you imagine yourself playing in these events and finals. When I lost in Buenos Aires I was sad, because I was at home and I lost badly, but I learned a lot from that. I used it today, and I think I played a great match, a great week.”

Roberto Bautista Agut to Face Stefanos Tsitsipas in Mallorca Championships Final

Roberto Bautista Agut is one win away from his next ATP title…

The 34-year-old Spanish professional tennis player beat Antoine Bellier 7-6 (5), 6-2 on Friday to reach the final of the Mallorca Championships.

Roberto Bautista AgutOn Thursday, Bautista Agut upset top-ranked Daniil Medvedev in straight sets to reach the semifinals against Bellier.

Bautista Agut, currently ranked No. 20 in the world, will be vying for his 11th career ATP title and his second of the year.

He’ll face Stefanos Tsitsipas, who beat Benjamin Bonzi 6-4, 6-4 in the second semi final match.

Tsitsipas, ranked sixth, will also be seeking his second title of the season after defending his Monte Carlo championship in April.

Sebastian Baez Claims First ATP Tour Career Title at Estoril Open

It’s a special first for Sebastian Baez.

The 21-year-old Argentine tennis player enjoyed a straight-set victory over American Frances Tiafoe to win the Estoril Open on Sunday.

Sebastian BaezBaez won 6-3, 6-2 in 1 1/4 hours on the outdoor clay court for his first ATP Tour career title.

Tiafoe was playing in his fourth career final, and his second in Estoril. He lost the 2018 final to João Sousa in straight sets. He won his only title at Delray Beach in 2018.

Báez converted four of five break chances and hit four aces to beat the 24-year-old Tiafoe, who struggled with his serve.

Tiafoe had reached the final after beating countryman Sebastian Korda 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4 after saving three match points on Saturday.

Báez has now reached a career high ATP singles ranking of No. 40 in the world, as of May 2, 2022.