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Alcaraz Kept Awake Landaluce, Who Went On To Win US Open Boys' Singles Title

  • Posted: Sep 11, 2022

Alcaraz Kept Awake Landaluce, Who Went On To Win US Open Boys’ Singles Title

The 16-year-old triumphs in a three-set final

On Friday evening, Martin Landaluce was preparing for the biggest match of his life, the US Open Boys’ Singles final. But another match on television kept the Spaniard from going to sleep: Carlos Alcaraz’s enthralling five-set quarter-final against Frances Tiafoe.

“I tried to sleep, but he was [on] the TV, so I couldn’t sleep in that moment. I just slept in the fifth,” Landaluce said of Alcaraz with a smile on his face. “But I was watching it. It was a great match. Yeah, both were playing good. I took some things from Alcaraz and from Tiafoe also.”

Like his countryman Alcaraz did Friday, Landaluce earned a big win on Saturday. The 16-year-old, seeded fifth, defeated second seed Gilles Arnaud Bailly of Belgium 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-2 for the Boys’ Singles title.

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“It was a great match. I’ve enjoyed it a lot. I tried to enjoy the final. It’s a special moment, special tournament,” Landaluce said. “I tried one game plan at the beginning that went more or less good. But then in the third set I tried to change it, to be more solid, more consistent. I think that’s what gave me the match, the win.”

There was a tough moment for the teen late in the second set. Bailly, 17, won a lengthy point in which he goaded Landaluce into an error to force a deciding set. Instead of suffering a letdown, Landaluce immediately bounced back to break at the start of the third set and never looked back.

“It was the final of the US Open. How could I be down or something?” Landaluce said. “I was just trying to enjoy the moment, try to understand the situation, to change some little things to win the match.”

Did You Know?
Landaluce practised with Alcaraz during his run to the Mutua Madrid Open title earlier this year.


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Alcaraz, Ruud Carry Weight Of World Into US Open Final

  • Posted: Sep 10, 2022

Alcaraz, Ruud Carry Weight Of World Into US Open Final

Winner to lift maiden Grand Slam trophy and become new World No. 1

There are high stakes matches, and then there is Sunday’s US Open championship match (4pm EDT/10pm CEST) between Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud.

Both players stand one victory from their maiden Grand Slam crown, a feat that would simultaneously propel them to No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time on Monday. The match is already a history-maker. It is the first Grand Slam men’s final featuring two players competing for both their first major title and the World No. 1 ranking, a winner-takes-all showdown set to bring the Grand Slam action for 2022 to a thrilling close.

“We’re playing for the tournament and also World No. 1,” said Ruud after his semi-final win against Karen Khachanov on Friday. “Of course, there will be nerves and we will both feel it.”

How To Watch The Final

Depending on the result, another milestone will fall on Sunday night in New York. Ruud is aiming to become the first Norwegian man to win a Grand Slam title, while Alcaraz seeks to become the youngest No. 1 in the history of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings at the age of 19 years and four months. Read More On The Battle For No. 1.

Youngest World No. 1s in Pepperstone ATP Rankings History

Player Age Reached No. 1
Lleyton Hewitt 20 years, 9 months
Marat Safin 20 years, 10 months
John McEnroe 21 years, 1 month
Andy Roddick 21 years, 2 months
Bjorn Borg 21 years, 3 months

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After not dropping a set in the first three matches of his US Open campaign, Alcaraz has taken a somewhat different path to victory from the fourth round onwards at Flushing Meadows.

The #NextGenATP Spaniard needed five sets to defeat Marin Cilic, Jannik Sinner and Frances Tiafoe in a trio of back-to-back thrillers, a clear demonstration of the physical strides made by the 19-year-old in recent months. A year ago in New York, he was forced to retire from his quarter-final against Felix Auger-Aliassime having come through tough five-setters in his two previous matches. As he prepares to take on Ruud on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sunday, Alcaraz is not worried about his recent workload taking its toll.

“I would say now I’m more prepared [than last year],” said Alcaraz, who has spent 20 hours, 19 minutes on court in the tournament so far. “Last year I just played three Grand Slams before the US Open, and I had just played, I’m going to say, one match of five sets. Now I’ve played more matches of five sets, I am more prepared mentally and physically.”

Should his meeting with Ruud also go the distance, Alcaraz can look back on an impressive 8-1 career record in fifth sets, something he attributes to his ability to raise his level when the pressure is ramped up.

“I lost one in Australia this year against Berrettini, but it could have been a victory for me too,” said Alcaraz. “The key moment is when I give my best. That’s why I’ve won eight of the nine fifth sets I’ve played in my career. Today it has been shown that I am physically prepared to be able to play good tennis despite all the hours on the court. I’m not afraid of the final after qualifying like this. I will go for it.”

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Ferrero: ‘Alcaraz Is A Ferocious Competitor’

The Spaniard will also look to his previous two meetings with Ruud for confidence. Alcaraz defeated the Norwegian on clay in Marbella in 2021, before securing another straight-sets victory in the final in Miami in March to lift his first ATP Masters 1000 crown.

“I feel capable of beating him again,” said Alcaraz. “He has already played a Grand Slam final, and for me everything will be new. But everything new in my career I have faced in a good way. I hope to do the same on Sunday. I’m going to try to show my best version”.

Ruud’s run to his maiden major final at Roland Garros in July may have been abruptly ended by 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal on the Parisian clay, but the Norwegian is viewing Sunday’s clash against Alcaraz with completely fresh eyes and believes the experience will even help when he steps onto Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sunday.

“I mean, Roland Garros, the final, [Nadal] obviously gave me a good beating,” said Ruud. “After the final I said, If I ever reach one again, I hope it is not Rafa on the other side of the court in Roland Garros, because it’s sort of an impossible task I think for any player. I’m happy that it’s not Rafa on clay.

“I hope it can have prepared me a little bit. At least I know a little bit what I’m facing when I’m stepping on the court, seeing the trophy on the back of the court, seeing tons of celebrities. Even in Roland Garros, there were royal families there watching. That was a little bit new experience for me. I hope I can be more ready for that on Sunday.”

Ruud has certainly been ready for whatever circumstances he has faced so far this fortnight in New York. The fifth seed kept cool to down home favourite Tommy Paul in five sets in the third round, while his quarter-final triumph against 13th seed Matteo Berrettini was in stark contrast to that battle. Ruud produced one of his most dominant displays of the year to ease past the big-hitting Italian in straight sets.

The Norwegian believes he will have to play just as aggressively on Sunday if he wants to notch his first win against Alcaraz at the third attempt.

“I think if I want to beat Carlos, I’ll need to play very precise with all the shots that I hit,” said Ruud. “Especially try to keep him a little bit further back in the court, to play with good depth and length on all my shots.

“If he steps in, he can do anything with the ball. He can rip a winner. He also has great touch with the dropshot. I think he has one of the best dropshots on tour. He can do both shots back and forth, it will sort of get you off guard sometimes with the dropshot.

“If you play with good depth and good length, it’s tougher to hit dropshots. That will be something that I will try to focus on.”

The US Open final between Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud is scheduled to begin not before 4pm local time (EDT)/10pm CEST on Sunday, 11 September. See TV Schedule.

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Clar On What Might Help Ruud 'Handle The Situation' Against Alcaraz

  • Posted: Sep 10, 2022

Clar On What Might Help Ruud ‘Handle The Situation’ Against Alcaraz

One of Ruud’s coaches looks ahead to the US Open final

It’s a unique opportunity. There is much more at stake on Sunday at the US Open than a title. Both Casper Ruud and Carlos Alcaraz are playing for their first major and to become the No. 1 player in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

One of them will be the 28th player to top the rankings in the Open Era. Both the Norwegian and the Spaniard have earned the opportunity on court this season, as two of the three players with the most wins in 2022. Alcaraz is the ATP Tour’s match wins leader (50), while Ruud is in third (44).

Ruud, who entered the tournament at No. 7 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, is bidding to make a leap to its pinnacle bigger than any man has done before him. Pedro Clar, a Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar coach, has had a front-row seat for the evolution of the 23-year-old, Oslo-born player.

“The whole team is happy to reach another Grand Slam final,” revealed the Spanish coach. “At the start of the year, it was not something that was in our plans. After playing in Paris, now he’s in another Grand Slam final, and to do it on [a] fast court is even more noteworthy.”

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Despite not being able to participate in the Australian Open due to an ankle injury, Ruud’s performance at the Grand Slams has been outstanding, with a 13-2 record. Now, he is looking to put the icing on the cake at Flushing Meadows.

“Sunday will be a thrilling match, they are both playing very well and the reward for victory, as we know, will be twofold,” said Clar. “Maybe the fact that Casper played in the Paris final this year will, in some way, help him handle the situation better and control his emotions. But without a doubt I think he will have to have his best level to be able to win.”

Ruud’s Spanish mentor made another point: “Whoever is more mentally stable might be the one who performs best in the final.”

So far, the Norwegian has taken down six opponents en route to the final. He started his path against Kyle Edmund before beating Tim van Rijthoven, then managed to come through a dramatic five-set clash against Tommy Paul in the third round.

In the second week he saw off Corentin Moutet in the last sixteen and sent Matteo Berrettini packing in the quarter-finals. On Friday, Ruud defeatedd Karen Khachanov to seal his passage into his second Grand Slam final.

“He has increased his level of tennis in every match he has played,” explained Clar. “Casper has grown through this US Open. The early rounds are always difficult to play, there’s more pressure because you want to do well in the tournament. But he has played better in each match and increased his level right up to the final.”

On Sunday, he will be playing for glory, but he will be met on the other side of the net by an opponent who shares his dreams of greatness. All will be decided inside Arthur Ashe Stadium.

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‘Stormy, We Got One!’ Peers/Sanders Claim US Open Mixed Doubles Crown

  • Posted: Sep 10, 2022

‘Stormy, We Got One!’ Peers/Sanders Claim US Open Mixed Doubles Crown

Australian duo triumphs in first tournament playing as a team

John Peers and Storm Sanders’ long-held plan to team up on the doubles court proved worth the wait at the US Open, where the Australian pair defeated Kirsten Flipkens and Edouard Roger-Vasselin on Saturday to lift the mixed doubles title at the hard-court Grand Slam.

Peers and Sanders held their nerve in a Match Tie-break to complete a 4-6, 6-4, 10-7 final victory on Arthur Ashe Stadium. The fourth seeds were making their debut as a team this fortnight and they dropped just two sets all tournament to surge to the title in New York.

“I can’t believe we are Grand Slam champions, that’s crazy,” said Sanders when addressing Peers at the trophy presentation. “So, thank you so much for playing with me. We’ve been trying to set it up for the past year and I really enjoyed every moment on court with you.”

“Stormy, we got one! Well done,” said Peers to his title-winning partner. “It’s been a pleasure this week and a lot of fun, so hopefully we’ve got a few more coming up at some point.”

Peers and Sanders had been under pressure early in the championship match after dropping a first set in which they let slip three break point opportunities against Belgian-French duo Flipkens and Roger-Vasselin. The Australian pair made no mistake in the second set, decisively breaking in the 10th game to level proceedings.

A to-and-fro Match Tie-break ultimately went the way of Peers and Sanders after they won five of the final six points in the match, with a huge Peers ace down the middle sealing an 86-minute win. The fourth seeds were solid on delivery throughout, winning 83 per cent (34/41) of points behind their first serves.

“Congrats Flipper and Eddie on a really great two weeks,” said Sanders to Flipkens and Roger-Vasselin, who were playing together at a Grand Slam for the second time. “Today could have gone either way, so well done and good luck for the rest of the year.”

It is a first mixed doubles Grand Slam title for both Peers and Sanders. Peers, who is currently No. 10 in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Rankings, also won the 2017 Australian Open men’s doubles title alongside Henri Kontinen.

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