4 min read
Two weeks of grueling hard work have brought two men to the pinnacle of the sport: A Grand Slam final with the No. 1 ranking on the line. Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud will duel it out inside Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sunday, and Universal Tennis INSIGHTS is breaking down the match-up.
(3) Carlos Alcaraz (15.91) vs. (5) Casper Ruud (15.77)
Alcaraz has had the tougher road to championship Sunday with his previous three matches all going to five sets. He followed his record-setting quarterfinal win over Jannik Sinner with another long battle two days later against Frances Tiafoe in the semifinals.
Ruud has only been pushed to five sets once, last week in the third round over Tommy Paul — a final set he won 6-0. He dismissed two-time Grand Slam finalist Matteo Berrettini in straight sets in the quarterfinals and bounced back from a second-set stumble to ease past Karen Khachanov in four sets in the semifinals.
Alcaraz Takes Fighting Spirit into Final
The 19-year-old Spaniard is looking to become the youngest world No. 1 in ATP rankings history. Sunday will make his first Grand Slam final, while Ruud has some experience after his Roland Garros final run earlier this year.
“It’s amazing to be able to fight for big things. First time in the final of a Grand Slam. I can see the No. 1 in the world, but at the same time it’s so far away,” Alcaraz said…. “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 [it]. I’m going to enjoy the moment and let’s see what happens.”
Alcaraz has two career wins over Ruud, including a straight-set win in the Miami final earlier this year and last year on clay in Marbella. The five-time ATP champion has proved himself on big stages with two Masters 1000 victories, in Madrid and Miami. Ruud, however, has nine titles in his collection, though all at the ATP 250 level and most on clay (eight, to be exact).
Ruud Gets Second Chance at Major in 2022
The 23-year-old is the first Norwegian ever to contest a Grand Slam final, and, if he tops Alcaraz, he would be the first Norweigian in history to reach the top ranking. He could become just the fourth Scandinavian to reach No. 1 after Swedes Bjorn Borg, Mats Wilander, and Stefan Edberg.
He’s had a strong support system from Day 1 in his father Christian, who reached No. 39 in the ATP rankings and appeared in the round of 16 at the 1997 Australian Open.
“I have been playing tennis since before I have [memories] because my father played with me for fun when I was young,” Ruud said. “Tennis has always been a big part of my life. When I saw Rafael [Nadal], Roger [Federer] on TV when I was young, I said that I want to be on TV someday myself. I think that just stuck with me all my life, that someday I would like to try to become world No. 1 and win Grand Slams.”
Alcaraz and Ruud have enjoyed phenomenal seasons with Alcaraz leading the ATP Tour for most wins at 4 and Ruud not far behind at 44. One of them will add one very significant milestone win on Sunday when they take the court at 3 p.m. EST.
•UTR Ratings and INSIGHTS probabilities as of 10:00 a.m. EST, September 10, 2022.