Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal have embraced two meetings this year. The older Spaniard emerged on top in that epic Indian Wells semi-final, while the youngster avenged that loss in front of the home crowd at the Madrid Masters.
Carlos and Rafa were on the semi-final course at the US Open, entering the draw as the second and fourth seeds and hoping to meet each other in the last four. As Alcaraz reached that stage, Nadal slipped in the fourth round against Frances Tiafoe, allowing his young compatriot to fight for the ATP title and throne.
Carlos seized the opportunity with both hands, defeating seven opponents and becoming the seventh youngest Major winner at 19 years and four months. Alcaraz’s coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero, would have loved to see his pupil against Nadal in the semi-final, saying it could have been an excellent match.
Carlos Alcaraz claimed the US Open crown while Rafael Nadal lost in R4.
Nadal entered his 16th US Open as one of the favourites, seeking the 3rd Major crown of the season and the ATP throne at 36 years old. Rafa played only one match between Wimbledon and the US Open, and was unable to find form in New York after an abdominal injury.
The Spaniard defeated three rivals before taking on local favorite Frances Tiafoe in the fourth round. Rafa suffered a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 loss in three hours and 34 minutes at Arthur Ashe Stadium and left Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud in a battle for the ATP throne.
The American dominated the Spaniard with aggressive tennis, taking the crucial points and celebrating the best victory of his career. The local star hit 49 game winners and 28 unforced errors and delivered five breaks that took him to the top.
Nadal took just two breaks, insufficient to force a decider despite leading 3-1 in the fourth set. Frances kept her cool and rattled off five straight games to emerge on top and advance to her first US Open quarterfinal.
Carlos Alcaraz had to work hard on his way to the title, beating three consecutive opponents in five sets and saving a match point against Jannik Sinner in the quarterfinals. Carlos beat Tiafoe in the semi-final and faced Casper Ruud in the biggest duel of his career.
Carlos scored a 6-4, 2-6, 7-6, 6-3 triumph to wrap up two perfect weeks in New York and become the first teenager with a Major crown since Nadal at Roland Garros 2005.