Carlos Alcaraz is one win away from his first Grand Slam title – and the world’s No. 1 ranking – after defeating American Frances Tiafoe in the US Open semi-finals in five sets on Friday night.
The 19-year-old Spaniard and prolific baller, whose impressive shots and ruthless hustle have made him the new face of the sport, came from behind at 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-1, 6-7 (5) , 6-3 thrilled to book a place in Sunday’s final against fifth seed Kasper Rudd, who Fight Karen Khachanov In the first semi-final today.
Facing an opponent who lives at home full of confidence and a raucous crowd of almost entirely 24,000 spectators on the American corner, Alvarez delivered in one moment of pressure after another, cementing his reputation as the best teenager in men’s tennis since Rafael Nadal nearly two decades ago.
For over four hours Alcaraz and Tiafoe traded Hellfire in bodily base gatherings and tested their vast mobility to the limit in dazzling cat-and-mouse exchanges that covered every inch of the playing field. But it was Alcaraz, seeded No. 3, whose previous two matches lasted nearly 10 hours and each finished just after 2 a.m. local time, who took the final kick for the champions by winning four of their last five games after holding a match point in the fourth.
The 24-year-old from Hyatsville, Maryland, ranked 22nd, was the first American man to reach the US Open semi-finals since Andy Roddick in 2006 and has been trying to become the first black American man to reach a major final since then. Malevay Washington at Wimbledon in 1996.
“I gave him everything I had tonight and I gave him everything I had for the past two weeks,” emotional Tiafoe said afterwards. “I will come back and win this thing one day.”
Alcaraz, who was the youngest player to reach a men’s Grand Slam semi-final since Nadal at the 2005 French Open, became the second teenager to reach the US Open men’s final in the professional era after Pete Sampras in 1990.
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