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Carlos Alcaraz defeated Casper Ruud in the US Open final (6/4 2/6 7/6 6/3) on Sunday the 11th of September.

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During the encounter, the game identity of each player was revealed. Casper Ruud was very solid during the entire match. Without being mind-blowing, he showed power and great consistency to disrupt his opponent. Carlos Alcaraz, once more, demonstrated explosiveness, creativity, and an impressive mental strength.

The stakes of this final were tangible during the first set. Nervous, the two players were under pressure for the four first games. However, Alcaraz managed to take the advantage by playing a creative tennis: 2/1, serve to follow. He saved a break point in the next game with an amazing drop shot which crashed behind the net. The Spanish won the remaining of his serving games. He secured the first set: 6/4. Despite making quite a few unforced errors and winning very little points on Casper Ruud’s serve; Alcaraz took the lead in the final thanks to a game built towards the net.

During the second set, Alcaraz broke down. Casper Ruud controlled each rally exceeding four shots. In constant struggle, Alcaraz had to come to the net on each point to secure his serving games. Missed break points in the fifth and seventh games didn’t help the Spanish to pull himself together. Casper Ruud won the second set 6/2, without much resistance from the other side of the net. Morally and physically weakened, Carlos Alcaraz piled up unforced errors and tactical faults. The Norwegian took advantage of his opponent’s down period. As Alcaraz exploded, Ruud played a precise tennis.

One set all. The third set began. Casper Ruud gave an early break after a sequence of unforced errors. However, this advantage wasn’t representative of the players’ condition. After a few tied games, the Norwegian picked up the score: 2/2. Carlos Alcaraz wasn’t in a better state. Fighting for each of his serve games, the Spanish seemed to be out of solutions. Lacking explosiveness, he caved in during long rallies. With confidence, Casper Ruud played an aggressive tennis which exhausted his opponent. The 19 years old player was on the edge. He managed to save two set points after a game of more than ten minutes. Still alive in this set thanks to his abilities at the net, he reached the tiebreak. Against all expectations, the situation turned around. The Spanish found energy back while Ruud exploded. Driven by perfect serves, Alcaraz took the lead in this final: 7/6[1].

The fourth set began smoothly. Each player secured his service games without having to fight much: 2/2. Winning the previous set awakened Alcaraz. As he played to his usual level of tennis, he managed to break: 4/2. The next games went by fast: 5/3. Then, the Spanish had to serve for the tournament. He handled his nerves perfectly. Despite two unforced errors, he made two aces and a serve-and-volley. Carlos Alcaraz fell on the ground: he was a Grand Slam winner.  

Once again, ‘Carlitos’ lived up to the event. He left it all out in the Arthur Ashe Stadium for the most important match of his career. While nothing worked for him, he believed in himself and managed to win his first Grand Slam. Thanks to his abnegation, his creativeness, his fighting spirit and his serve-and-volleys; he defeated Casper Ruud who didn’t demerit. The young Norwegian showed his power, his abilities to the net and his unconditional consistency.

After the last Grand Slam of the year, Carlos Alcaraz takes the number one spot of the ATP Rankings. Being only 19 years old, he becomes the youngest number one in tennis history. After revealing himself to the public at the 2021 US Open –  by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round – the young Spanish prodigy exceeded all expectations.

Marnie Abbou

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