Carlos Alcaraz Wins US Open To Becomes Youngest ATP No.1 In History - UBITENNIS
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Carlos Alcaraz Wins US Open To Becomes Youngest ATP No.1 In History

The meteoric rise of the rising star continues after he defeated Casper Ruud in four sets to achieve two brand new milestones in his career.

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Carlos Alcaraz has become the youngest male player to clinch the US Open title since Pete Sampras in 1990 after producing a gutsy win over Casper Ruud in the final on Sunday.              

The 19-year-old ousted his Norwegian nemesis 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(1), 6-3, to win his first Grand Slam title during what has been a sensational season for the youngster who has now won five titles. As a result of his triumph, Alcaraz will become the youngest No.1 in Pepperstone ATP rankings history on Monday, dethroning last year’s champion Daniil Medvedev from the top spot.

“This is something I have dreamt of since I was a kid, to be number one in the world, to be a champion of a Grand Slam. It is tough to talk right now. There are a lot of emotions right now,” Alcaraz said during his on-court interview. 
“It is something I have tried to achieve. All the hard work I have done. I am just 19 years old so the top decisions are with my team and my parents. It is really special for me.
“My Mum is not here, and my Grandfather. I was thinking about them. A lot of my family are here but there are a lot of people from my family that couldn’t come here to watch the final and I was thinking of them.”

Alcaraz’s run to the US Open title has been a rollercoaster encounter with his six matches leading up to the final lasting more than 20 hours. In the three previous rounds, he was taken to five-set in encounters that lasted late into the night. Despite concerns over how he would hold up against Ruud, he once again beats the odds with the help of 51 winners to record his third win over the world No.7 since 2021.

“I always said there was no time to be tired in the final run of a tournament,” he said of his latest achievement.
“You have to give everything on court, everything you have inside. It is something I have worked really hard for and it is not time to be tired.”

In what was the second-youngest US Open men’s final of the Open Era, both players had their chances at the start of the match with four consecutive games taking place with at least one break point occurring in each of them. Alcaraz was the first to draw blood after a Ruud forehand error granted him a break for 2-1. The breakthrough was a pivotal moment as he carefully worked his way to clinching the opener. Leading 5-4, a serve out wide prompted his rival to return the ball into the net, rewarding Alcaraz with a trio of set points. He converted his first with the help of another Ruud mistake coming from his backhand side. 

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Despite his inexperience and young age, the Spaniard has already established himself as a fierce frontrunner on the Tour. Coming into the final, he has won 48 out of 50 matches played when he claimed the first set.   

However, Ruud conjured up a way to revive his title chances by staging a strong fight back in the second frame which saw him win four games in a row. A lull in intensity from Alcaraz paved the way for him to break for the first time for a 4-2 lead. Prompting the world No.3 to show visible signs of frustration for the first time. Gaining momentum, Ruud went to level the final at once set apiece with the help of a smash at the net. Making it the first time he has won a set against a member of the world’s top four players on the Tour in his career. 

Ruud’s tactic of taking the ball early by standing inside the court continued to bring him success against his opponent who looked as if he might be suffering from the after-effects of playing three five-set matches in a row earlier in the week. Nevertheless, Alcaraz valiantly battled back in what was a tense third set by recovering from a break down. After saving a duo of set points whilst trailing 5-6, he dominated the tiebreaker with a seven-point winning streak to get back into the lead once again.

Closing in on the biggest win of his career, Alcaraz broke midway through the fourth set en route to the title. His 14th ace of the match handed him a duo of championship points. He then sealed victory with the help of another blistering serve out wide which Ruud failed to return, prompting him to collapse onto the floor in sheer joy. 

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As for Ruud, he will rise to No.2 as a result of his US Open performance. It is the second time this year he has been runner-up at a major after settling for second best against Rafael Nadal at the French Open.  

“It’s tough to explain but things have been going so well. Today was a special evening for both Carlos and I. We knew what was at stake, and I think it’s fitting both finalists will be number one and number two in the world. I’m happy with that number and I will continue to chase that ranking and my first Grand Slam,” he said.
“I owe everything to my family and they’ve been caring, helpful, thoughtful in all my career. They are the reason I am able to be here today and I hope we can continue to be a strong team in the future.”

This year marks the first time there has been a change concerning the No.1 ranking following the conclusion of the US Open since 2003 when Juan Carlos Ferrero did so. Coincidentally Ferro is Alcaraz’s coach and has been mentoring him since the age of 16. 

Thanks to him I’m lifting this trophy today. Juan Carlos to me is my second father. He could train a lot of top players but he decided to be with me at 16. Juan Carlos to me means everything,” the new champion told Amazon Prime.

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Carlos Alcaraz In Doubt For Madrid Open Title Defence

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Carlos Alcaraz admits that he is not certain if he will be ready in time to play at next week’s Madrid Masters.

The 20-year-old is yet to play a clay tournament in Europe due to a forearm injury which ruled him out of both Monte Carlo and Barcelona. He hurt his right arm whilst training shortly before the Monte Carlo event began. 

It is the latest in a series of injury issues that has affected Alcaraz throughout his young career. Since the start of 2023, he has also been derailed by issues with his abdominal, hamstring, post-traumatic arthritis in his left hand and muscular discomfort in his spine. 

“My feeling isn’t right, but it is what it is. Now I’m fully focused on recovery and I have a little more time,” Alcaraz told reporters in Barcelona on Monday.
“My goal is to try and go to the Madrid Open, but at the moment nothing is certain. I was given specific recovery times and I’ve respected them, but I haven’t felt good. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
“I can’t say I’ll be 100% in Madrid, but that’s my intention. We’ll train and do everything we can so that the feelings improve so I can play a match … It’s also a very special tournament for me.”

Alcaraz has won the past two editions of the Madrid Open, which is classed as a Masters 1000 event. In 2022 he defeated Alexander Zverev in the final and then 12 months later he beat Jan-Lennard Struff in the title match.

The setback comes after what has been a steady start to the year for Alcaraz who has reached the quarter-finals or better in four out of five tournaments played. He successfully defended his title in Indian Wells and then reached the semi-finals in Miami. 

Should he not play in Madrid, it is likely that the Spaniard will lose his No.2 spot to Jannik Sinner who is just over 100 points behind him in the standings. He will still have the chance to play a clay-court event before the French Open with Rome taking place early next month. 

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Olympic Qualification Is Not the Only Goal For French Veteran Gael Monfils

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Gael Monfils (image via https://twitter.com/atptour)

Gael Monfils admits he doesn’t have too many years left on the Tour but this doesn’t mean his targets are any less ambitious. 

The 37-year-old has enjoyed a rapid rise up the rankings over the past 12 months following battles with injury. At his lowest, he was ranked 394th last May but is now in 40th position. As a result, he is closing on securing a place in the Olympic Games which is being held in his home country of France for the first time since 1924. The tennis event will be staged at Roland Garros. 

“When I was 400, I was thinking the Olympics would be great, but it’s going to be tough,” Monfils told reporters on Tuesday. 
“There are younger players playing well. If I don’t qualify, I don’t mind. It will just mean I’m very close to the ranking I want to be. That ranking will allow me to find another goal.”

Monfils is already a three-time Olympian but has never won a medal at the event. He reached the quarter-finals of the singles tournament twice in 2008 and 2016. 

Another goal of Frenchmen is the Wimbledon championships which concludes just three weeks before the Olympics begin. The proximity of these tournaments will be a challenge to all players who will be going from playing on clay to grass and then back to clay again. 

“I really want to go and play Wimbledon. I don’t have so many Wimbledons to play in the future. The Olympics is one goal, not the only goal.” Monfils states.
“My dream is of course to be part of the Olympics. I played three times at the Olympics. I’d like to be there again. But I also really want to do well in Wimbledon this year. To reach my goal, it has to be including Wimbledon.” He added. 

Monfils is currently playing at the Monte Carlo Masters where he beat Aleksandar Vukic in his opening match. In the next round, he will take on Daniil Medvedev in what will be their first meeting since 2022. He leads their head-to-head 2-1. 

Medvedev has openly spoken about his roller-coaster relationship with playing on the clay. He admits it is not his favourite surface but how much of a factor could this be in his upcoming clash with Monfils?

“Of course, it’s not his favourite one, but he’s still Daniil Medvedev, and whatever the surface, it’s always very complicated to play him,” Monfils concludes. 

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Matteo Berrettini wins in Marrakech displaying quality tennis

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Matteo Berrettini - Marrakech 2024 (photo X @ATPTour_ES)

Matteo Berrettini defeats Roberto Carballes Baena in straight sets, 75 62, and proves that his comeback is well grounded  

If life is often considered a continuous narrative, it may be no coincidence that today Matteo Berrettini’s comeback journey intersescted Carballes Baena, a player he had faced twice in straight tournaments, Florence and Naples in October 2022, shortly before plunging into his annus horribilis, an injury-plagued 2023.

Just like resuming the story from where it was left.

Carballes Baena, the defending champion, got off to a sharper start, holding serve with ease and earning a first break point in the second game. Berrettini averted the threat by hammering down three serves but lost his service two games later.

Doubts on the Italian’s recovery from his energy-draining semifinal may have been starting to come afloat. However Berrettini broke back immediately, unsettling the Spaniard’s consistency with changes of pace and alternating lifted and sliced backhands.

The next six games neatly followed serve. Figures witness how close the match was. After 45 minutes the scoreboard read 5 games all, and stats reported 27 points apiece.

The eleventh game was to be crucial. Carballes Baena netted two forehands, while trying to hit through the Italian’s skidding spins and conceded a break point. Berrettini followed up two massive forehands with a delicate, unreachable drop shot and secured the break.

Carballes Baena was far from discouraged, and fired two forehand winners dashing to 0 40  with the Italian serving for the set.

Berrettini was lucky to save the first break point with a forehand that pinched the top of the net, and trickled over. Then he hit two winning first serves to draw even. Then again two first serves paired with their loyal forehand winner: Berrettini’s copyright gamepattern sealed a 59 minute first set.

The match seemed about to swing round at the very start of the second set when Carballes Baena had three break points and was winning all the longer rallies. Once more Berrettini got out of trouble thanks to his serve. Carballes Baena’s disappointment turned into frustration after he failed to put away two quite comfortable smashes and lost his service immediately after.  

Unforced errors were seeping into the Spaniard’s game and when Berrettini won a 16-shot rally with a stunning crosscourt forehand on the stretch and went on to grab a two-break lead, the match appeared to have taken its final twist.

Berrettini did not falter when serving for the match at 5 2, despite an unforced error on the first point. Three first serves chauffeured him to two match points.

Carballes Baena only succeeded in bravely saving the first, well steering the rally. But the 2021 Wimbledon finalist produced a massive serve out wide and joyfully lifted his arms to the sky, for a most emotional victory. It means so much to a player whose talent and career have been incessantly diminished by injuries.

It’s been a tough last couple of years” Matteo Berrettini said, holding the trophy. “Thanks to my team I was able to overcome all the tough moments my body didn’t allow me to play. I thank you and all the people that made my comeback possible: all my friends and my family, the people that were with me all the time when I was sad, injured and I didn’t think I could make it.”

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