Carlos Alcaraz does it again as he wins another five-set epic to reach US Open final: ‘I’m going to enjoy it’

Shahida Jacobs
Carlos Alcaraz celebrates

Carlos Alcaraz really is the marathon man of the US Open as he beat Frances Tiafoe in yet another titanic clash to reach his maiden Grand Slam final where he will face Casper Ruud not only for the title, but also the No 1 ranking.

After spending nearly nine hours on court during his wins over Marin Cilic and Jannik Sinner in the previous rounds, Alcaraz added another four hours and 19 minutes to his clock as he ended America’s hopes for a home finalist.

Much like Alcaraz and Sinner in the quarter-final, Alcaraz and Tiafoe proved that the future of men’s tennis is bright and there will be life after the Big Three as they slugged it out before the Spaniard won 6-7 (6-8), 6-3, 6-1, 6-7 (5-8), 6-3.

The 19-year-old is the second teen after Pete Sampras to reach the US Open final in the Open Era while he is also the youngest man to make a Slam final since fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal won his maiden title at the French Open in 2005.

The opening set was a tight affair with Tiafoe saving two break points in game seven and Alcaraz saving a set point in game 12.

The American found himself 6-3 up in the tie-breaker, but the world No 4 saved three set points again only for Tiafoe to finally get the job done at the fifth time of asking in the set.

The only break of the second set came in game six with Alcaraz firm on his serve as he only faced one break point. He then dominated the third set with three breaks to go 2-1 up.

Set four was more even as they shared four consecutive breaks early in the set before Tiafoe saved a match point in game 10 as it went to another tie-breaker and again the American held firm to keep his hopes alive.

But he started the decider poorly as he was broken in game one only to draw level in game four. However, he lost his momentum in the next game as Alcaraz went ahead on serve again and a third break in game nine earned the Spaniard the win.

“It’s incredible. Three five-set matches, all very long, very demanding. I only have energy thanks to all of you,” Alcaraz said.

“The final will be for my family, for my team, and for all of you.”

He added: “To be honest in the semi-final of a Grand Slam you have to give everything… we have to fight until the last ball. It doesn’t matter if we are fighting for five hours, six hours. It doesn’t matter. You have to give everything on court.

“Frances gave everything on court. This is amazing.”

He is one win away from crowning his breakthrough season with a Grand Slam and naturally he wants to just “enjoy the moment”.

However, he will be up against some stiff competition as Ruud, who defeated Karen Khachanov in four sets in his semi-final, has looked imperious throughout the tournament.

“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 and as I said before every match, I’m going to enjoy,” he said. “I’m going to enjoy the moment and let’s see what happens.”