At the age of nineteen, young Spaniard Carlos Alcaras won the first major title of his career, by winning the US Open in tennis, becoming the youngest world number one in history and transforming the bright future of tennis into its glowing present.
The talented 19-year-old, 4 months and 6 days old, outperformed Norway’s Casper Ruud 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-3 in the final of Flushing Meadows, the last Grand Slam of the season.
He became the first teenager to win a grand slam title since compatriot Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros 2005 and the youngest to top the rankings since Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt (20 years 9 months) on November 19, 2001.
The player who hit 55 winning balls and 14 aces and started the tournament in fourth place in the world became the youngest winner in New York since American Pete Sampras in 1990.
“I’ve dreamed about this since my childhood, to be number one, to win a major tournament. I worked hard for this. It’s hard for me to speak now, emotions are high,” said Alcaras, who imposed his talent, explosive physique and agility close to the net.
The owner of 51 wins this season continued: “I’m still 19, and all the big decisions were made by my team and my family. This is something special for me.”
It was a grueling tournament for Alcaras, who broke the record for the longest time on the court in a single major tournament with a time of 23 hours and 40 minutes, surpassing the 23 hours and 21 minutes held by South African Kevin Anderson when he finished runner-up to Wimbledon 2018.
On the other hand, it was the second loss in the final of the Grand Slam of Rudd this season, after falling to Nadal at Roland Garros, while he was also seeking to top the world rankings for professional players.
“Today was an important evening for Carlos and I,” said the Norwegian. “We know what’s at stake and I think it’s fitting that the two finalists are first and second in the world.”
“I will continue to chase the rankings and win the first major title of my career.”
Veteran Nadal, the 22-year-old champion, was quick to congratulate his compatriot, who is considered the most likely to succeed him on the throne, tweeting, “Congratulations Carlos Alcaras for his first major title and world number one, at the height of your wonderful season, and I’m sure it will be much more.”
This is Alcaras’ fifth title this season, after the Masters titles in Miami and Madrid, in addition to his coronation in Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona.
He announced his strong coming in Madrid, threatening the big names in the world of tennis, when he became the first player to defeat Serbian Novak Djokovic and Nadal in a single session on clay.
With the roof of Arthur Ashe Stadium, filled with 24,000 spectators, closed, fans stood before the start of the final, a minute of silence, on the twenty-first anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
The two players saved early breaks, before Alcaras settled the only break in the first set and advanced 3-1.
Rudd lost the set, but excelled in sportsmanship when he ceded a ball that the referee counted in his favour, hitting the ground in front of him twice in the eighth game, to lose the point when he was 3-4.
In the second set, Alcaras, who started the match while leading Rod 2-0 in head-to-head matches, missed a serve (2-2). Pay the price for Rod’s 4-2 lead, then the equation by set to one.
The Spaniard quickly advanced 2-0 in the third, but the 23-year-old Rudd responded and got two chances to settle it in the 12th half, which lasted 11 minutes, but Alcaras hit accurate flying balls that saved him. The Spaniard won the first tiebreak in this session in light of exhibition balls that inflamed the enthusiasm of the spectators, then he clearly excelled in the fourth set 6-3., ending the match with three hours and 20 minutes.
He fell to the ground after his victory and quickly climbed up to his team’s cabin and hugged his family members, coach and compatriot Juan Carlos Ferrero, who topped the world rankings in September 2003. “I thought of my mother, my grandfather and the rest of my family who could not attend.”
Alcaras beat Croatia’s Marin Cilic in five sets in the fourth round, followed by Italy’s Yannick Sener in the quarter-finals, who saved a ball in front of him to decide the match, and then the American Francis Tiafoe in the semi-finals.
The player, who raised his prize money to about 10 million dollars, commented on this matter, “You do not have time to get tired in the last rounds of the major tournaments or in any tournament. You must be ready and give everything you have.”
Alcaras became the fourth Spaniard to top the world rankings, after Ferrero, Carlos Moya and Nadal.
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