Us Open 2022, today the Ruud-Alcaraz final: a challenge that is worth double

Us Open 2022, today the Ruud-Alcaraz final: a challenge that is worth double
Us Open 2022, today the Ruud-Alcaraz final: a challenge that is worth double
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At 22.00 the last act of the New York tournament that will crown a new Grand Slam champion and the new n. 1 of the ATP ranking. The precedents smile at the 19-year-old Murciano who starts slightly favored

SWIATEK WINS THE WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT

The winner takes it all“. And for Casper Ruud and Carlos Alcaraztaking everything means winning US Open, put on the bulletin board the first career Slam and become number 1 in the ATP ranking, the twenty-eighth different from 1973, the year in which the computerized ranking was established. It would be easy to say now that we have always bet on them since the first Monday of action in Flushing Meadows. It seemed that at the end of the tournament the new king was destined to be Rafa Nadal, who had no points to defend, someone must have insisted on Daniil Medvedev, who for years had not ceased on Arthur Ashe and who wanted to be transgressive was teased by the name of Stefanos Tsitsipas, recovering after the final in Cincinnati, even if lost to Borna Coric. Instead, the Spaniard was eliminated in the round of 16 by Frances Tiafoe, the Russian stopped almost simultaneously against Nick Kyrgios and the Greek did not even go beyond the first round, an illustrious victim of a Daniel Galan in a state of grace. And then, at the bottom came Casper and Carlos, respectively 23 and 19 years old, the youngest in the quintet, who at times will also have felt the pressure, but who have been impeccable in keeping it in check, one with tactical clarity, the other with boundless talent, both with the education and respect always shown to who was on the other side of the field.

Ruud’s path

Ruud was the first to throw down the gauntlet, defeating Karen Khachanov with the score of 7-6, 6-2, 5-7, 6-2, in a semifinal which, however, was never really in question. And to those who claim that the Norwegian does not know how to have fun, it would be better to show the 55-stroke exchange, won by Casper on the set point exploited at 6-5 in the tiebreak in the first part: a masterpiece of tactics, patience, physical endurance, closed from the Norwegian with a backhand down the line, not exactly the trademark, after an hour of match in which the seeded number 5 often had difficulty staying in much simpler dribbles. Ruud’s progress can be seen from the forehand which is no longer played perpetually in topspin, but which is also risked with flatter trajectories and more suitable for concrete, from the backhand that no longer suffers if stressed in the exchange and from the service he has gained in speed and precision. Above all, however, the New York Casper crowned his growth with an attitude on the field so exemplary as to translate into an incredible technical-tactical coldness. An example above all: lost 7-5 a fourth set that he had dominated in the third round match against Tommy Paul, the Norwegian did not even go to the bathroom, he sat down, rearranged his ideas, got up and gave the American a 6-0. “After Roland Garros I was happy, but I also knew that I had to remain humble because that could have been my only Grand Slam final in my career, because it’s not easy to get that far in these tournaments, “Ruud said after his victory over Khachanov. In the meantime, however, the Norwegian is the fourth-youngest since 1995. having reached more finals in a Major in the same season after Nadal, Federer and Ferrero. And it is also the only one, since 2004, excluded “fab four” to have reached them on Slam in different surfaces. Not bad for those who had to be able to play only on clay.

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The route of Alcaraz

If the records of adaptability smile at Ruud, the records of earliness smile at Carlos. With a five-set win against Tiafoe, the Spaniard has joined names like Borg, Wilander, Becker, Edberg, Chang, Sampras and Nadal on the list of those who have made it to the bottom of a Grand Slam before turning 20. As if that weren’t enough, Carlos is also the second youngest in the Open era to reach the final in Flushing Meadows after Sampras, as well as the fourth earliest to be sure of making his debut in the top two in the ranking after Becker, Borg and Nadal. Alcaraz will even be the virtual number 1 in the ATP ranking when he takes the field against Ruud, but he will not remain so if he loses in the final. Finals that after an initial 5-0 balance in the major circuit, were indigestible in Hamburg and Umag respectively against Lorenzo Musetti and Jannik Sinner. These two defeats, combined with the narrowly lost games against Tommy Paul and Cameron Norrie between Montreal and Cincinnati, and the quarter-final stops against Alexander Zverev at Roland Garros and the round of 16 against Sinner at Wimbledon, had helped to instill doubt. that Alcaraz could still be (understandably) unripe for a Grand Slam, despite the two Masters 1000 won this season in Miami and Madrid. Nothing better than ten hours on the pitch and three matches in the fifth set between round of 16 against Marin Cilic, quarter-finals, complete with match point canceled at Sinner, and semifinal against Frances Tiafoe to dispel the first doubts, however quite premature and excessive.

Ruud-Alcaraz, i previous

The precedents both smile at Alcaraz who starts slightly favored on Ruud. The final in Miami is fresher in memory: the Spaniard and the Norwegian went hand in hand in the first set, before Carlitos took off in the second set. Equally to remember, however, is the quarter-final match played on clay in the ATP 250 in Marbella in April 2021: Alcaraz, on the draw with a wild card, left only six games in Ruud, becoming, at 17 and 11 months, the youngest in the semi-finals in an ATP tournament since 2014. The final at the US Open between Ruud and Alcaraz is only the third in a Grand Slam since 2006 not to see one between Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray on the pitch and perhaps it is no coincidence that it has always happened in New York, in 2014 with Cilic’s no-appeal victory over Nishikori and in 2020 with Thiem’s ​​comeback over Zverev from two sets behind and a break late in both the third and fifth. partial. It is likely that the match between Casper and Carlos could be a cross between the two, with the Spaniard and the Norwegian who are unlikely to decide to challenge each other on the forehand and who, rather, will try to press on a second serve and a backhand. Whoever wins goes home with all the loot, whoever loses must accept reality. It couldn’t be simpler than that.

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