New world number one Alcaraz captures US Open crown

Jonathan Davies in US Open 12 Sep 2022
Alcaraz claimed his first Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows

Carlos Alcaraz is the new world number one after winning his maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open with a four-set victory over Casper Ruud.

The teenage sensation claimed his first major silverware at Flushing Meadows as he saw off Ruud 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(1), 6-3 in the battle for top spot in the ATP rankings.

The 19-year-old becomes the youngest player to reach the summit – and first teenager – as well as the fourth Spaniard after Carlos Moya, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Rafael Nadal.

Alcaraz is also only the second teenager to land the men’s singles title in the Big Apple, along with Pete Sampras 32 years earlier.

The stage was set for the youngest men’s singles final at a Slam since Lleyton Hewitt defeated David Nalbandian in the 2002 Wimbledon showpiece.

Alcaraz arrived in the Championship match off the back of three successive five-setters – saving match point against Jannik Sinner in the quarter-finals – becoming the first player to do so since Andre Agassi in 2005.

He broke to 15 in just the third game on the way to taking the opening set; meaning he has now won at least one in each of his last 65 matches.

The winner of the opener had gone on to lift the trophy in 26 of the 30 previous men’s singles finals in New York, but French Open runner-up Ruud responded well in the second.

The world number seven was aiming to make the biggest jump to the top of the ATP rankings in history, while he was the youngest man since Rafael Nadal (2008) to appear in multiple Slam finals during the same season.

Ruud rescued break point at 2-2 before converting his own in the following game, as he reeled off four in a row to level the final.

Both players exchanged early breaks before Alcaraz saved two set points to ensure a tie-break in the third, before seven straight points moved him to within one of glory.

Full of momentum, the Spaniard then broke for 4-2 in the fourth set as the exciting final entered its fourth hour.

By that point, Alcaraz had spent 23 hours and 21 minutes on court this fortnight; the most by any player during a single edition of a Grand Slam tournament, eclipsing the previous record set by Kevin Anderson at Wimbledon in 2018.

The third seed then recovered from 30-0 down to hold and although Ruud stayed alive with a love service game, a 14th ace of the match saw the teenage dream become a fairytale in New York.

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