An unprecedented moment in history of men’s tennis: for the first time two players at the same time had a chance to become no. 1, even though they weren’t near the top when the tournament kicked off [Alcaraz 4, Ruud 7] so this scenario was highly unlikely two weeks earlier. It was their second hardcourt final following Miami ’22, and despite Alcaraz’s extremely tough route to the final (three consecutive matches concluded in five-setters, each one after midnight), the 19-year-old Spaniard was a strong favorite. He confirmed it in the opener, but in the 2nd set at 2:3 (30/0) he made a tactical mistake running like crazy forwards-backwards-forwards on serve – it cost him too much energy, simple errors sneaked to his game afterwards. In the 3rd set he saved two set points at 5:6, bravely at the net, and took control over the match. In the 4th set he was fresh again and a break at 3:2 was decisive. Serving for the title, Alcaraz delivered his biggest serves, and finished the event with a powerful serve which Ruud returned into the stands with the frame of his racquet. The Spanish teenager celebrated the biggest success of his life lying on the court, covering his face; he becomes the youngest No. 1 in the ATP history (since 1973) and a record holder in terms of time spent on the court to rise the Grand Slam trophy (23 hours 39 minutes). His route to the title resemble Edberg’s US Open conquest 30 years ago. “I think he’s on 60 per cent of his game. He can improve a lot of things. He knows and I know that we have to keep working,” Ferrero said (Alcaraz’s coach). “Once to get to the No. 1, it’s not done.”
Alcaraz’s route to his 6th title (33rd main-level event):
1 Sebastian Baez 7-5, 7-5, 2-0 ret.
2 Federico Coria 6-2, 6-1, 7-5
3 Jenson Brooksby 6-3, 6-3, 6-3
4 Marin Cilic 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3
Q Jannik Sinner 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-7(0), 7-5, 6-3 – 1 m.p.
S Frances Tiafoe 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-3
W Casper Ruud 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(1), 6-3
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