Stakes will be high when Spanish Carlos Alcaraz will meet Norwegian Casper Rudd at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in the US Open final on Monday.
Both the tennis stars who have been in excellent form of late will have the chance to topple Daniil Medvedev and grab the top spot to become world number one. Both ace athletes have Spanish connections, with Alcaraz belonging to Spain and the Norwegian training at the Rafael Nadal Academy situated in Spain. It will not be unfair to call this affair a Spanish extravaganza.
Rafael Nadal and current world number one Daniil Medvedev both exited in the fourth round of the 2022 US Open, paving the way for Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud to play for the ATP Tour’s top ranking.
Alcaraz and Ruud are each one win away from making a dramatic and historic debut at the top of the ATP rankings. Alcaraz, 19, would be the first teenager to hold the top spot in the rankings’ history. Ruud, 23, would become the first Norwegian man to reach the top of the men’s tennis world.
While Alcaraz is better seeded and ranked favourite to win the title, Ruud, the current world number seven, can draw on his experience playing in the Paris final in June. He faced another Spaniard Rafael Nadal in the final but failed to win a set in his maiden major final. He will look to put that in the past and just count on his experience from the match.
Alcaraz dominates their head-to-head encounters, 2-0, thanks to a pair of straight-set victories. Their most recent meeting was also on a big-stage final, with the teenager defeating Ruud to earn his maiden ATP Masters 1000 championship on the hard courts of Miami in April.
As the quarterfinals began, both men had a clear path to being number one, winning the championship or reaching the final while the other does not. Ruud is content to settle the score on the field.
“I think what’s most fair is if we both reach the final and whoever wins the final reaches the world No. 1. That would be, I think, the ideal situation,” US Open quoted Rudd as saying after his win in the semi-finals.
His opponent Alcaraz was aware of the threat Rudd poses to his quest of becoming the first teenager to reach world number one.
“I can see the No. 1 in the world, but at the same time, it’s so far away. I have one more to go, but against a player who plays unbelievable. He deserves to play a final. He played the final of a Grand Slam at Roland Garros. This is my first time. I’m going to give everything that I have. I will have to handle the nerves of being in a final of a Grand Slam, but obviously, I’m really, really happy,” said the Spaniard after his hard-fought win in the semi-finals.
The match will begin at 1:30 am on September 12 according to Indian time.