Image Source: Reuters
Carlos Alcaraz is now the youngest world No. 1 in the history of the ATP rankings after defeating Casper Ruud in the US Open Final on Sunday.
Alcaraz, 19, defeated 23-year-old Ruud 6-4 2-6 7-6(7-1) 6-3 in a match that took over three hours in New York.
He is the youngest world No. 1 since the ATP rankings began in 1973 -- breaking the mark set by Lleyton Hewitt, who was 20 when he became number one in 2001 -- and becomes the youngest men's singles grand slam winner since compatriot Rafael Nadal, won the first of his major titles in June 2005.
"This is something I've dreamt of since I was a kid. To be No. 1 in the world, to be a champion," Alcaraz said, adding he thought about some of his family members who couldn't make it to watch him play.
"I always say it's not time to be tired in the final round of the grand slam, you have to give everything you have inside," he said.
Ruud, who was trying to become the first Norwegian to capture the top spot, said he'll continue chasing the No. 1 spot. He will rise to second in the world from number seven.
"Today was a special day, both Carlos and I knew what we were playing for and both knew what was a stake," Ruud said. "I'm disappointed of course that I'm not No. 1, but No. 2 isn't so bad either."
Alcaraz played three consecutive five-set matches on the way to the final, including the second-longest match in the history of the US Open when he overcame Jannik Sinner at 2:50 a.m. in the quarterfinals on Thursday -- the tournament's latest ever finish.
Throughout the US Open, the Spaniard enthralled crowds with his speed, athleticism and outrageous shot-making. This latest victory could be the first of many grand slam titles over the course of his career.
Alvarez broke early in the first set but faltered in the second, before taking a tense third-set tiebreak after saving two set points in the final game of the set. Seven straight points moved the Spaniard to within a set from the trophy.
Ruud had no answer to his opponent's crushing forehand and serves in the fourth set and, unburdened by the weight of history, Alvarez broke for a decisive 4-2 lead to see out a sensational win.
A clay court specialist, Alcaraz has drawn comparisons to 22-time grand slam champion Nadal and is just the second player in the Open Era to make the US Open final in his teens after Pete Sampras.