Joey Mills, The Sportsman
12th September 2022 – (New York) 19-year-old prodigy Carlos Alcaraz is the US Open champion after beating 23-year-old Casper Ruud in four sets at Flushing Meadows. The victory saw the Spaniard become the youngest men’s world number one in history.
Demonstrating the sheer scale of the achievement, despite being four years older, Ruud would have become the youngest men’s world number one if he had won.
Both men had to contend with some early mistakes in an uncertain start. But Alcaraz seized upon an early break of the Ruud serve and an exciting first set played out. There were some exhilarating points played as the Spaniard clinched the opener 6-4.
Ruud got into his stride in the second set, taking advantage of a missed volley from Alcaraz and racking up the next two points. He would take this momentum through the set, leveling the scores at one set apiece.
The Norwegian could not maintain this form, going to 0-40 in the first game. He saved two break points but could not save a third. Extended rallies and shots from deep coloured this third set as a tactical battle broke out. The 5-6 game was an all-timer with ten minutes of play stacked high with brilliantly exciting points. Ruud rescued two set points to force a tiebreak. A series of Ruud errors gave Alzaraz the 7-1 win in the tiebreak.
The crowd was on Alzacaraz’s side going into the fourth set and he would not be denied. Ruud had the look of a man whose race was run, and his Spanish opponent entered the history books with a fairly straightforward 6-3 win.
Alcaraz is the first teenager to top the ATP rankings in the 49-year history of the rankings. After Emma Raducanu lifting her own US Open title last year at the age of 18, Arthur Ashe Stadium is fast becoming the playground of tennis’ brilliant youth.