Five-set hero Alcaraz sets up Ruud showdown in US Open final

Jonathan Davies in US Open 10 Sep 2022
Alcaraz is only the second teenager to reach the final in New York (UPI/Alamy Live News)

Carlos Alcaraz will play Casper Ruud in the US Open final after denying home favourite Frances Tiafoe in another five-set thriller at Flushing Meadows.

Alcaraz and Ruud will face off for the title in Sunday’s championship match at Arthur Ashe Stadium, with the winner also set to become the new world number one.

The Spaniard was taken to a deciding set for a third consecutive match, but held his nerve once more when it mattered most to outlast Tiafoe 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-3 after four hours and 19 minutes.

The 19-year-old becomes only the second teenager of the Open Era to reach the men’s singles final at Flushing Meadows; emulating the feat of Pete Sampras in 1990.

The youngest American US Open semi-finalist in 16 years, Tiafoe was looking to become the first male from the States to reach a Slam showpiece since Andy Roddick at Wimbledon in 2009.

The 22nd seed boasted an impressive 6-0 record in tie-breaks that remained unblemished as he drew first blood in a tight opener.

Fresh from his epic five-set thriller with Jannik Sinner in the quarter-finals, Alcaraz hit back in the second before winning 11 of the first 12 points as he dominated the third to turn the contest on its head.

The fourth set also went to the wire after Tiafoe saved match point at 5-4, before winning his eighth tie-break of the fortnight – the most by a player during a single edition of this event.

Into a decider and both players traded breaks early on, but Alcaraz grew stronger as the winning line got closer; winning four of the last five games to reach his first major final.

French Open runner-up Ruud stands in the way of a maiden title and becoming the youngest world number one in ATP history.

The Norwegian, who is looking to become the first player from his nation to top the ATP rankings, overcame Karen Khachanov 7-6(5), 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.

Ruud saw two set points go begging, but eventually took the opener following an epic 55-shot rally. He then hit 12 winners while making just two unforced errors during a dominant second to double his lead.

Appearing in his first Slam semi-final, Khachanov had lost each of his 18 previous matches against top-10 opponents – and 11 from 12 in majors.

The first player to drop at least a set in all five matches to reach the last four since Tim Henman 18 years earlier, the 27th seed dug deep with a crucial break in game 12 seeing him halve the deficit.

But Ruud was not to be denied 30 years on from Scandinavia’s most recent men’s finalist in the Big Apple, when Stefan Edberg triumphed.

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US Open 2022 Day 12 Results

Friday September 9

Semi-Finals

Arthur Ashe Stadium
Casper Ruud (5) 7-6(5), 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 Karen Khachanov (27)
Carlos Alcaraz (3) 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-3 Frances Tiafoe (22)

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