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US Open: Carlos Alcaraz reaches US Open final; Spaniard can become youngest number 1 in the world

Carlos Alcaraz takes on Casper Ruud for the US Open title and world rankings, after beating Frances Tiafoe in another five-set classic to reach his first Grand Slam final.

The 19-year-old is the youngest man to reach a slam final since his compatriot Rafael Nadal won his first title at the French Open in 2005.

Comparisons between the compatriots are inescapable and Alcaraz, who had fought five sets after 2am in his previous two matches, showed Nadal-like abilities of mental and physical stamina to recover and beat American Tiafoe 6-7 ( 8-6) 6-3 6-1 6-7 (7-5) 6-3.

It was a breakthrough tournament for 24-year-old Tiafoe, beating Nadal for the biggest win of his career in the fourth round before becoming the first American to make the last four in New York for 16 years and the first black American. husband since Arthur Ashe in 1972.

He was cheered on by Michelle Obama, who was enthusiastically received by the Flushing Meadows audience, and made an impressive recovery after looking down and out after the third set, saving a match point in the fourth in a match full of athleticism, flair and passion.

But it is Alcaraz’s third seed who advances to the final to face Norwegian Ruud, with both men knowing that a win would put them at the top of the rankings – Alcaraz as the youngest man ever.

“It’s great to be able to fight for big things,” said Alcaraz. “The first time in a grand slam final. I can see the number 1, but at the same time it is so far.

“I have one more to go against a player who plays incredible. I’m going to give everything I have. I’m going to enjoy the moment and let’s see what happens.”

An emotional Tiafoe also addressed the crowd, saying: “Too good for Carlos tonight. I gave everything I had for the past two weeks. I came here to win the US Open and I feel like I’m disappointing everyone. really hurts. I’ll be back and I’ll win this thing one day.”

A packed crowd was equal in this from the start and very divided in their affections, demonstrating both the popularity of Alcaraz and the diversity of the stadium.

Alcaraz may not have been as sharp as he was against Jannik Sinner on Wednesday in their five-hour game, but there was still plenty of spring in the teenager’s legs.

He saved a set point at 5-6 and then won one of the barely believable all-court points that are quickly becoming his trademark, scrambling to retrieve a series of volleys before passing Tiafoe down the line.

The crowd rose and Alcaraz produced more magic to fight back from 3-6 in the tie-break, only to make a double foul on Tiafoe’s fifth chance.

It brought the American’s tie-break record to 7-0 these two weeks, equaling Pete Sampras’ previous best set.

Image:
Frances Tiafoe won a record eight tiebreaks at the US Open this year

Alcaraz was the youngest men’s semi-finalist in Flushing Meadows since Sampras in 1990 and he came back in the second set, broke for 4-2 and withstood the pressure to equalize.

Tiafoe was beginning to look tired mentally and physically, apparently tired of the sustained excellence it took to try and emulate Alcaraz.

He won just one point in the first three games of the third set, two of which were on his serve, and got into big trouble when Alcaraz won five straight runs to break early in the fourth.

But just when it looked like Tiafoe’s race was over, he awoke. Not having broken Alcaraz’s serve all night, he did it twice in a row, sprinting to his seat to show that there was still life in him.

The Tiafoe-supporting part of the crowd wanted their man to take it to a decider, and he won one of the points of the night to save a match point at 4-5, with a great defense and then pull it off make with the best drop shots.

And in the tiebreak he was again immense, improving his record to 8-0 to ensure there would be more drama from five sets.

After giving so much to stay in the game, Tiafoe found his pit draining quickly in the decider, while somehow Alcaraz still had plenty to give.

Two flawless lobs helped him rack up more match points and this time he grabbed one and collapsed in delight on the field.

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