US OPEN – Finale – The cheat sheet: Carlos Alcaraz, so young and already so high

US OPEN – Finale – The cheat sheet: Carlos Alcaraz, so young and already so high

US OPEN – Finale – The cheat sheet: Carlos Alcaraz, so young and already so high

Why and how

It was his least epic match this second week, but Carlos Alcaraz had set the bar too high for anyone to blame him. It was probably also the least successful. While we never thought he was physically stuck against Frances Tiafoe in the semifinals when she was coming out of her over five hour marathon against Jannik Sinner completed at 3am, so much “Carlitos” suffered at this level against Casper Ruud. When the legitimate stress of his first Grand Slam final added, he struggled to express himself fully.

Paradoxically, if this does not remain as his best match, far from it, these difficulties reinforce the merit of the young Spaniard. He had to fight against Casper Ruud but also against himself. We have rarely felt as frustrated as during the second and third rounds of this final. A very rare body language at home, when he made a pact with his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero: always stay positive, whatever happens. He felt that something was missing and no doubt he was afraid to see a title that almost stretched his arms slip through his fingers. But he got away with it.

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This is where Carlos Alcaraz is truly a rare specimen. What is most striking at his age is his constantly renewed ability to find a solution. His salvation, on Sunday evening, went to the front. Especially in this decisive third set. It was on the fly that he saved those two set points against him at 6-5. A wonderful forehand volley not easy to achieve, then a high volley after a volley. It had to be done, meaning this phrase both in the sense of “Hat” and “It was a necessity”. Yes, Alcaraz knows how to do what is needed at the right time.

This year the US Open has consecrated not only an already ultra-complete player, but also and above all a true champion, with a strength of character and a form of courage that belong only to the best. This little (this big, indeed) something that makes the difference and that undoubtedly made the difference Sunday night on the Arthur-Ashe field between Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud. The Norwegian is an exceptional player, his palette is fuller and finer than it is said, but he may not be made of this particular wood. Alcaraz, yes.

The 5 most beautiful points of the final: Alcaraz and Ruud, associated artists

The key moment

Undoubtedly the end of the third set. At this point in the match, Casper Ruud looked above his opponent. Out of breath and energy, Carlos Alcaraz found himself on a tightrope when, at 6-5 in favor of the Norwegian, he had to save two set points on his serve. By holding on and putting Ruud in a tiebreak that Murcian would finally fly over, he had done the hardest part. Even Ruud would not have obtained the slightest break point. A real breakthrough.

The point of the final

In a very important moment of the match as it was the outcome of this famous 12th game of the 3rd set, in which Carlos Alcaraz had to reject two set points. On this point, where the two found themselves in turn at the net, the Spaniard raised to 6-6.

Damping, tweener and smash: the point that totally revived Alcaraz in the 3rd set

The statistic: 8

This is Carlos Alcaraz’s number of aces in the fourth set. Two more than the accumulation of the first three sets. By way of comparison, during his three wins in five sets against Marin Cilic in the eighth, Jannik Sinner in the quarterfinals and Frances Tiafoe in the half court, the new world number one had scored respectively 3, 5 and 6 aces over the entire match. . Such quality of service in a fourth set of a Grand Slam final is a godsend. Result, Casper Ruud has never had the shadow of an opening at home in this final.

Last winning serve and boundless joy: the historic match point in Alcaraz

The statement: Carlos Alcaraz

It’s something I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid, I’ve worked very, very hard to achieve it, it’s hard to find the words, I have a lot of emotions. I thought about my mother and my grandfather. To many other members of my family who have not been able to come.

Alcaraz, shock after emotion: “I’ve always dreamed of it but everything hits me in the head”

The question: Is Alcaraz ready to be the boss?

So here he is now in the Top 10 (7th) of the youngest players to have won a Grand Slam tournament in the Open era. Here he is also the number one in the world and in this sector no one has ever done better than him in terms of earliness. However, is Carlos Alcaraz already indisputably the best player in the world? While Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have won the first three Grand Slam tournaments of the year, the question remains.

If we can feed a very small regret (for us, not for him) at the end of this capital campaign of 2022, it is the missed appointments between “Charlie de Murcie” and the two giants. He could have found Nadal in the semifinals at Roland-Garros (defeat in the quarterfinals against Zverev), then Djokovic at Wimbledon (even there he stopped on the step just below, against Jannik Sinner) even if, on the grass he might not be ready for such. competitions. In New York, it was Nadal who got it wrong by losing to Frances Tiafoe.

4 sets for a monumental enterprise: how Tiafoe tamed Nadal

It’s not, in writing, trying to downplay his title in Flushing or downplay anything. But how can we not want to see the new phenomenon of world tennis at work against Nadal and Djokovic on the biggest stages in the world. These duels took place, in Masters 1000. But the Grand Slam is different. In Madrid in the spring, Alcaraz made a splash by beating the Spaniard and the Serbian in quick succession after two titanic matches. In a major, what would the scenario have been? Anyone can say what he wants, by definition, but our feeling, without foreseeing the result, is that young Carlos would have been ready to fight.

So yes, we want comparisons between the new world number one and Nadal or Djokovic for 2023, and why not, Nadal and Djokovic. For him that would be the ultimate test. A way to establish itself even more, to become the undisputed master of the circuit forever. Today, the situation after the four majors of the year is somewhat reminiscent of the world heavyweight title which has not yet been unified. Next year if all goes well?

A titanic fight, boosted Alcaraz: relive the fantastic semifinal

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