Carlos Alcaraz will face Casper Ruud for the US Open title and world No. 1 after beating Frances Tiafoe in another five-set classic to reach his first Grand Slam final.
The 19-year-old is the youngest person to reach a slam final since Spaniard Rafael Nadal won his first title at the 2005 French Open.
Comparisons between compatriots were inevitable and Alcaraz, who fought in five sets after 2am in his two previous matches, showed the same mental strength and endurance as Nadal to conquer. recovered and defeated American Tiafoe 6-7 (8-6) 6-3 6-1 6-7 (7-5) 6-3.
It was a breakout tournament for 24-year-old Tiafoe, who beat Nadal for the biggest win of his career in the fourth round before becoming the first American man to reach the final four in New York. for 16 years and was the first black American. man since Arthur Ashe in 1972.
He was cheered by Michelle Obama, who was warmly greeted by the Flushing Meadows crowd, and made an impressive recovery from looking down and frustrated after the third set, saving a match point in the fourth inning in a second. The competition is full of sport, sophistication and passion.
But third seed Alcaraz will advance to the final to face Norway’s Ruud, with both men knowing that victory will take them to the top of the standings – Alcaraz is the youngest ever now.
“It’s great to be able to fight for great things,” Alcaraz said. “For the first time in a final of a major showdown. I can see the No. 1 but at the same time, it’s so far.
“I have one more game to go against an incredible player. I will give everything I have. I will enjoy the moment and see what happens.”
An emotional Tiafoe also addressed the crowd, saying: “Too good from Carlos tonight. I’ve given everything I’ve got for the past two weeks. I’m here to win the US Open and I’m so grateful. I feel like I’ve let everyone down. I’m really hurt. I’ll be back and I’ll win this one day.”
A full crowd watched this match from the start and were very divided in their sentiments, proving both the popularity of Alcaraz and the diversity of the stadium.
Alcaraz may not be quite as stellar as Wednesday’s match against Jannik Sinner in their five-hour competition but there’s still plenty of spring in the teen’s feet.
He saved a set point at 5-6 and then won one of the reliable all-around points that quickly became his trademark, scrambling to grab a series of volleys first. when passing Tiafoe.
The crowd stood firm, and Alcaraz worked more magic to hit back 3-6 in the tie-break only to double foul on Tiafoe’s fifth chance.
The American’s tie-break record these two weeks is 7-0, beating Pete Sampras’ previous best record.
Alcaraz is the youngest male player to reach the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows since Sampras in 1990 and he came back in the second set, winning 4-2 and withstanding pressure to level his opponent.
Tiafoe began to tire mentally and physically, clearly tired of the sustained excellence needed to attempt to take on Alcaraz.
He picked up just one point in the opening three games of the third set, two of which were his serve, and he was in big trouble as Alcaraz picked up five points in a row to break early in the fourth inning. .
But as soon as Tiafoe’s race appeared, he revived himself. Without breaking a single Alcaraz serve all night, he did it twice in a row, sprinting towards his chair to show that there was still life in him.
The Tiafoe side of the crowd wanted their man to take it to the decider, and he won one of the points of the night to save a match point at 4-5, demonstrating his defensive prowess. amazing and then finish it by dropping the most skillful ball. Photograph.
And in the match, he was once again great, lifting his record to 8-0 to ensure more drama that lasted five sets.
After devoting so much to staying in the competition, Tiafoe found herself quickly emptying the decision table, while Alcaraz somehow still had a lot to give.
Two losses helped him score more matches and this time he dropped one, collapsing on the court in joy.