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.

Caroline Garcia Defeats Coco Gauff at US Open to Reach First-Ever Grand Slam Semifinal

Caroline Garcia is celebrating a special first…

The 28-year-old part-Spanish French tennis player defeated Coco Gauff 6-3, 6-4 at the US Open to reach her first Grand Slam semifinal.

Caroline GarciaGarcia, the tournament’s 17th seed, produced a clinical display to beat the 18-year-old 12th seed.

The in-form Garcia has yet to drop a set at Flushing Meadows, with this her 13th successive win in a streak that included her claiming her first WTA 1000 win in five years at Cincinnati.

In only her second major quarterfinal – and first since the 2017 French Open – Garcia immediately put Gauff on the back foot on Arthur Ashe Stadium and rarely relented.

Making her 42nd Grand Slam appearance, Garcia unsettled her opponent and subdued the home crowd with a fast start in which she quickly established a 4-0 lead with a second break of serve.

Contesting her first quarterfinal at her home Slam, Gauff hit back in the fifth game but the damage had already been done. Garcia punched the air as she went on to clinch her first set point on serve after 45 minutes.

The teenager was bidding to become the youngest American woman to reach the last four in New York since Serena Williams did so aged 17 in 1999.

However, her task was made even tougher as she lost her serve in the opening game of the second set.

Willed on by the crowd, Gauff – set to make her top-10 debut after the tournament – saved two break points when trailing 3-1 but crucially she was unable to take an opportunity of her own in the following game.

Garcia dropped her racquet and held her hands up in disbelief as Gauff netted on the first match point to make her the first Frenchwoman to reach the last four since Amelie Mauresmo in 2006.

Garcia will meet Ons Jabeur for a place in the US Open final.

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.”

Caroline Garcia Outlasts Bianca Andreescu at Bad Homburg Open to Win First WTA Title in Three Years

Caroline Garcia is back in the winner’s circle…

The 28-year-old half-Spanish French tennis player outlasted 2019 U.S. Open champion Bianca Andreescu 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4 on Saturday in the final of the Bad Homburg Open, giving her a first tour title in three years.

Caroline GarciaGarcia had to come back from a set and a break down to beat her opponent.

Garcia took a medical timeout for what seemed to be a shoulder problem early in the second set. She then went 4-2 down before winning 10 of the next 14 games to seal the match ahead of the start of Wimbledon on Monday.

“It was a fight [for] every point from the first to the last one,” Garcia said.

Caroline GarciaGarcia is 8-3 in career finals but her last title was almost exactly three years ago in Nottingham in the build-up to the 2019 Wimbledon tournament.

Andreescu was looking for her first title since beating Serena Williams in the 2019 final at Flushing Meadows before injuries forced her to miss the entire 2020 season.

Leylah Fernandez Advances to First Grand Slam Semifinal While Continuing Cinderella Run at US Open

It’s a birthday Leylah Fernandez will never forget…

The half-Ecuadorian Canadian tennis player, who just turned 19 on Monday, defeated No. 5 seed Elina Svitolina 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5) at the US Open to reach her first Grand Slam semifinal.

Leylah Fernandez

In the process, the unseeded Canadian teenager with an exciting game and enthusiasm to match became the youngest player to get that far in the women’s bracket at Flushing Meadows since Maria Sharapova.

Fernandez had previously recorded wins over past US Open champions Naomi Osaka and Angelique Kerber.

“I obviously have no idea what I’m feeling right now,” said Fernandez, a left-hander with quick baseline reflexes who is ranked 73rd and participating in only the seventh major tournament of her early career. “I was so nervous. I was trying to do what my coach told me to do.”

That coach is her father, who isn’t in New York; he stayed home and is offering tips in daily phone conversations. That helps, certainly, as does the loud backing she has been receiving from the spectators, who rose and cheered wildly each time Fernandez raised a fist high above her head or wind-milled both arms after winning a key point in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“Thanks to you, I was able to push through today,” she told the crowd after edging Svitolina, the 2020 Tokyo Games bronze medalist whose two Grand Slam semifinal runs include the 2019 US Open.

Not requiring any encouragement to get out of his seat was Fernandez’s fitness coach, who would leap and shout, pointing fingers or waving clenched fists. Svitolina’s husband, two-time major semifinalist Gael Monfils, offered similar support from Ashe’s other guest box.

It was touch-and-go down the stretch — even after Fernandez grabbed the opening set, and even after she led 5-2 in the third. One way in which she held a clear advantage: Of points that lasted more than eight shots, Fernandez won 26, Svitolina 16.

Five times, Fernandez was two points from winning but failed to collect the next point. Finally, at 5-all in the tiebreaker, she moved to match point when she smacked a down-the-line passing shot that got past Svitolina with the help of a bounce off the net tape.

Fernandez put up both palms, as if to say, “Sorry about that bit of luck,” while Svitolina put a hand to her mouth in dismay.

Svitolina’s backhand contributed to her undoing late, and when a return from that side landed long, it was over. Fernandez dropped to her knees at the baseline and covered her face; Svitolina walked around the net to approach Fernandez for a hug.

Next on this magical ride for Fernandez will come yet another test against a player who is ranked higher and has more experience on the sport’s biggest stages: Aryna Sabalenka. Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, matched her best result in a Grand Slam tournament by reaching the semifinals via a 6-1, 6-4 victory over French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, who was seeded No. 8.

Carlos Alcaraz Becomes Youngest Male Player to Reach U.S. Open Quarterfinals in Nearly 60 Years

Carlos Alcaraz has earned a place in US Open history…

The 18-year-old Spanish player beat 141st-ranked qualifier Peter Gojowczyk of Germany 5-7, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 6-0 to reach the final eight at Flushing Meadows.

Carlos Alcaraz

In the process, Alcaraz has become the youngest man to reach the quarterfinals of the US Open since 1963.

Alcaraz will now face No. 12 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, a 21-year-old from Canada who reached his second straight major quarterfinal by defeating Frances Tiafoe 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (6), 6-4 with the help of 24 aces.

“At some point, age is just a number,” Auger-Aliassime when asked about Alcaraz. “He already feels like a player that is established.”

The 55th-ranked Alcaraz got past No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas in his previous match and is the youngest player with two five-set Grand Slam wins in a row since Michael Chang was 16 at the 1988 U.S. Open.

Auger-Aliassime had never reached the final eight at any Grand Slam tournament until Wimbledon in July, a month before he turned 21 on August 8. Now the Canadian is the youngest man to reach consecutive major quarterfinals since Juan Martin del Potro made it to three straight in 2008-09.

Leylah Fernandez Defeats Former US Open Champion Angelique Kerber to Reach First-Ever Grand Slam Quarterfinal

Leylah Fernandez has taken down another ex-champion at the U.S. Open

The 18-year-old half-Ecuadorian Canadian tennis player, unseeded at this year’s event, won the last five games to eliminate 2016 title winner Angelique Kerber 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2 on Sunday at Flushing Meadows, proving that her earlier upset of defending champion Naomi Osaka was no fluke.

Leylah Fernandez

In the process, Fernandez has reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal, and she did a day before her 19th birthday.

With grit and guile, plus a veteran’s poise in the face of big deficits against much more accomplished opponents, Fernandez is displaying strokes and a demeanor that left Kerber offering this assessment: “She can go really far in the next few years.”

Ask Fernandez for the secret to her success, and she repeatedly mentions two factors. One is being sure to enjoy her time on court. The other is support of family, because her father, who is from Ecuador, her mother, who is Filipino Canadian, and her sisters “have definitely kept the joy for me.”

She credits Dad — who coaches her and has been offering instructions in daily phone calls while back home, taking care of a younger sibling — and Mom — who is leading the cheers with other family members and Fernandez’s fitness trainer in courtside seats — with teaching a valuable lesson that has nothing to do with tennis.

They made sure to emphasize, Fernandez said, that “you can’t take things too seriously, you’ve got to be mature but at the same time just be a kid, let loose, have fun, eat chocolate when you want to, and just have fun, watch movies, go past your bedtime.”

Just as against Osaka in Arthur Ashe Stadium two nights earlier, Fernandez dropped the opening set against Kerber in Louis Armstrong Stadium, which was so full that would-be spectators were being turned away at the doors.

And just as against Osaka, Fernandez trailed in the second set: Kerber led by a break at 4-2.

Both times, the 73rd-ranked Fernandez managed to get folks in the seats on her side, exulting with every of her on-the-run, impossible-angle groundstrokes that added up to a 45-28 edge in winners.

Fernandez redirects opponent’s shots swiftly and seemingly with ease, sometimes dropping to a knee near the baseline to get the proper leverage. That’s a very similar style to the one another lefty, Kerber, used to reach No. 1 in the rankings and claim three Grand Slam titles.

Kerber, 33, has been playing well enough lately to get to the Wimbledon semifinals in July, but instead of that experience paying off, Fernandez figured the age difference worked in her favor as the contest stretched past two hours.

“I was honestly tired in the third set,” Fernandez acknowledged. “But with that thought, I was telling myself, like, ‘If I’m tired, she must be exhausted.'”

Still, in the last set, Kerber held a break point with a chance to go up 3-1. Fernandez erased that chance with a cross-court forehand winner. Kerber wouldn’t claim another game.

When it ended, Fernandez lifted her arms, then leaned forward to put her hands on her knees and smiled. She stood and patted her chest with her palm, while Kerber walked around the net to offer a clasp of hands and an arm around Fernandez’s shoulders.

“I remember the feeling really well,” Kerber said when asked about playing with the sort of loose-grip freedom Fernandez displays. “I mean it’s (a) few years ago. But of course, I mean, she has no pressure.”

Now Fernandez, who only once had been as far as the third round at a major tournament until now, will meet No. 5 seed Elina Svitolina in the quarterfinals.

Bruno Soares Wins Men’s Doubles Title at US Open with New Partner Mate Pavic

Bruno Soares is back in the winner’s circle at Flushing Meadows.

The 38-year-old Brazilian tennis player and Mate Pavic won their first Grand Slam championship as a team on Thursday, beating Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic 7-5, 6-3 to take home the US Open trophy.

Bruno Soares & Mate Pavic

“It means a lot. That’s what we practice for. That’s what we were trying to do in these five months off, working for this moment,” Soares said on court after the match. “Extremely happy. Tough year for everyone. Really glad the work that everyone put into this event to give us the opportunity to get back on the court. To start with a Grand Slam title, I think it’s a very positive way to come back for us.”

Pavic and Soares lost in the first round of the Western & Southern Open, the first tournament since the ATP Tour resumed. But they battled past four former US Open champions en route to earning the title at the same venue, the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Both men had previously captured Grand Slam glory, with Soares winning the 2016 Australian Open and US Open with Jamie Murray, while Pavic triumphed at the 2018 Australian Open with Oliver Marach.

This is their second tour-level victory together after winning last year’s Shanghai Masters.

Pavic and Soares were both the more dynamic and solid team inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. Pavic wreaked havoc with his big serve and flashy shotmaking, while Soares made few mistakes and forced their opponents to hit difficult shots.

Pablo Carreno Busta Outlasts Denis Shapovalov to Reach US Open Semifinals

Pablo Carreno Busta has made it to the Final Four at this year’s US Open

The 29-year-old Spanish tennis player battled through five sets in a four-hour evening match that ended after 1:00 am to defeat Denis Shapovalov 3-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4), 0-6, 6-3 in the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows. And now Carreno Busta is back in the US Open semifinals for a second time.

Pablo Carreno Busta

It’s a lot more work than he put in a round earlier.

One match after advancing when No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic was disqualified in the first set, the 20th-seeded expended a lot more energy and outlasted Shapovalov in a long and tense match.

“I’m destroyed,” Carreno Busta said, “but I’m very, very happy.”

Carreno Busta made it to the final four in New York in 2017, losing to eventual runner-up Kevin Anderson at that stage. That was the only previous Grand Slam semifinal appearance for Carreno Busta.      

At least he’ll get a chance to rest up before playing Friday against No. 5 seed Alexander Zverev in the semifinals.