Carlos Alcaraz won his first major singles title beating Casper Ruud 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (1), 6-3 in the final of the U.S. Open, becoming the event’s second youngest men’s singles champion and in the process becoming the youngest man to clinch the world No. 1 ranking.
Alcaraz, at age 19 years, 4 months and 6 days, is only three months older than Pete Sampras, when he won the U.S. men’s title in 1990 at the age of 19 years, 28 days. However, Alcaraz is well over a year younger than Lleyton Hewitt as the youngest world No. 1, Hewitt assuming the top ranking in 2001 at the age of 20 years and 268 days.
The young Spaniard persisted at the end of the tournament in what four-time U.S. Open champion John McEnroe called “one of the all-time great efforts you will ever see to win an event.” He won three straight matches in five sets, including two that finished after 2 am, to reach the final, a feat last achieved by Stefan Edberg in 1992, who famously came back from a service break in the fifth set in the fourth round, quarterfinals and semifinals. Alcaraz trailed by a service break in the firth set against 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic in the fourth round before winnign 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in three hours and 54 minutes in a match that ended at 2:23 am. He then saved a match point in his quarterfinal epic win against Jannik Sinner, which he won 6-3, 6-7 (7), 6-7 (0), 7-5, 6-3 in five hours and 15 minutes, the second longest U.S. Open match of all time, that finished at 2:50 am, the latest finish in U.S. Open history. In the semifinals, he again persisted in his five-set 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-1, 7-6 (5), 6-3, fighting against a roaring U.S. crowd.
Alcaraz spent a total of 23 hours, 40 minutes on court in the tournament.