Carlos Alcaraz, a Spanish teenager, became the youngest person to reach the top of the world rankings on Sunday after winning his first Grand Slam tournament at the US Open.
In the championship match, the 19-year-old dragged his worn-out body to a 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7/1), 6-3 victory over Norway’s Casper Ruud.
Alcaraz, the first adolescent to hold the top spot, defeated Rafael Nadal at the 2005 French Open to become the youngest men’s Grand Slam champion. His performance included 55 winners and 14 aces.
He is the youngest champion in New York since Pete Sampras in 1990 on a day filled with historic events.
Carlos Alcaraz had a demanding tournament and broke Kevin Anderson’s previous record of 23 hours and 21 minutes at Wimbledon in 2018 for the longest period of time spent on the court at a single Grand Slam event.
Ruud lost in the Slam final for the second time this year after losing to Nadal in the French Open. He was also vying for the world number one position.
Before the final began tentatively, the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd observed a touching moment of silence on the 21st anniversary of the September 11 attacks with the roof closed.
Before Alcaraz earned the sole break of the opening set to take a crucial 3-1 lead, both players saved break points in their respective opening service games.
Ruud lost the set but earned points for good sportsmanship when, in the eighth game, he called a double bounce on himself and gave the Spaniard the point.
Alcaraz used his 13 wins compared to the Norwegian’s six to serve it out to love and take the first set.
The Spanish teenager, who had a 2-0 advantage over Ruud going into the match, lost a break point at 2-2 in the second set.
He was punished by Ruud, who took the lead for 4-2 before leveling the match on the second set point after another wayward Alcaraz drop-shot had left the court looking inviting.
Ruud made him pay by winning 4-2 and then tying the match on the second set point after another sloppy Alcaraz drop-shot left the Norwegian with an attractive opening on the court.
Alcaraz had just surpassed Andy Murray’s record of over 22 hours on the court when the British player won the 2012 championship.
In the third set, Carlos Alcaraz led 2-0 before Ruud came back.
In an 11-minute 12th game, the 23-year-old Norwegian had two set chances but was unable to capitalize as Alcaraz buried inch-perfect back-to-back volleys.
As Ruud’s game abruptly broke down, Alcaraz took the most of his respite by advancing quickly to his first tiebreak victory of the tournament.
The Spaniard saw his opportunity and broke to go up 4-2 in the fourth set before increasing his ace total to 12 to go up 5-2.
Ruud held to love, but Alcaraz won on the second match point, and he celebrated by falling to the court.