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US Open 2022: 5 milestones Carlos Alcaraz achieved by reaching final

Bhargav
2022 US Open - Day 12
Carlos Alcaraz is into the US Open final.

The Carlos Alcaraz story continues to get better at the US Open. On Friday, the 19-year-old prevailed over Frances Tiafoe in five sets to reach his first Grand Slam final.

In a blockbuster last-four clash, Alcaraz needed to go the distance for the third match running - as he faced a stern challenge from Tiafoe in a clash between two first-time Major semifinalists.

After Tiafoe drew first blood, Alcaraz responded in kind - winning the next two sets - to put himself in the ascendancy. The American forced a decider by winning his second tiebreak of the match - improving to 8-0 this fortnight - but that was not enough.

Despite squandering an early break in the fifth, Alcaraz broke his opponent decisively to reach his first Major final - where he will take on Roland Garros finalist Casper Ruud.

The gloves will be off in the #USOpen final. πŸ₯Š https://t.co/4M7xObfn0W

On that note, here's a look at five milestones Alcaraz achieved by beating Tiafoe.


#1. Carlos Alcaraz becomes 1st player since Novak Djokovic to win a set in his first 50 matches of a season

Carlos Alcaraz is into the final.
Carlos Alcaraz is into the final.

By beating Tiafoe on Friday, Alcaraz (50-9) became the first player to win 50 matches this year. Interestingly, none of his nine defeats have come in straight sets.

In the process, Alcaraz has also become the first player since Novak Djokovic in 2011 to win at least a set in his first 50 matches of the season.

You can’t escape from Alcaraz.@carlosalcaraz becomes the first player since Novak Djokovic in 2011 to win at least one set in his first 50 matches of the season 🀯#OBN22 https://t.co/Ilo6eqqUuj

The four-time titlist this year will now have a chance to win a tour-leading fifth title of 2022. He has, however, lost his last two finals - in Umag and Hamburg - the only two final losses of his career.


#2. Carlos Alcaraz is youngest Grand Slam finalist in nearly two decades

Carlos Alcaraz at the 2022 US Open - Day 12
Carlos Alcaraz at the 2022 US Open - Day 12

Carlos Alcaraz has reached his first Grand Slam final at the US Open in what has been a banner year for him.

In a year of many firsts, the 19-year-old is now the youngest Major finalist since his compatriot Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros in 2005. Alcaraz is also the youngest finalist at Flushing Meadows since Pete Sampras in 1990.

19-year-old @CarlosAlcaraz defeats @FTiafoe in @USOpen SF and will meet @CasperRuud98 for 1st Grand Slam title and No. 1 ranking.Alcaraz is youngest Grand Slam finalist since @RafaelNadal at 2005 @RolandGarros and #USOpen finalist since Pete Sampras in 1990. Both won the title.

The Spaniard will look to make it a fortnight to remember by winning the title on Sunday.


#3. First time both Grand Slam finalists will be in contention for No. 1 ranking

Carlos Alcaraz at the 2022 US Open - Day 12
Carlos Alcaraz at the 2022 US Open - Day 12

Carlos Alcaraz entered the US Open as one of five players who could leave New York as the World No. 1.

With defending champion Daniil Medvedev, four-time winner Rafael Nadal and 2021 Roland Garros finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas falling before the quarterfinals, Alcaraz and Ruud were in contention for the No. 1 ranking.

Both men needed to at least reach the final to give themselves a chance of doing so. With both Alcaraz and Ruud completing their part of the bargain, the winner will be crowned the No. 1 ranking. This marks the first time in Grand Slam final history since rankings were introduced in 1973 that both finalists have the chance to become the No. 1.

#USOpen Final: World No. 4 @CarlosAlcaraz vs. World No. 7 @CasperRuud981st Grand Slam men's singles final to feature 2 players with chance to become World No. 1 for 1st time

As per the Live ATP rankings, Alcaraz (5940) holds a slender 90-point lead over Ruud ahead of the final - where 800 points will be up for grabs.


#4. Carlos Alcaraz is first Spanish player after Nadal to reach US Open final

Alcaraz at the 2022 US Open - Day 12
Alcaraz at the 2022 US Open - Day 12

Carlos Alcaraz continues to mirror the early success of his illustrious compatriot Rafael Nadal.

After emulating Nadal as the youngest Grand Slam finalist, top-five player and two-time Masters 1000 winner Alcaraz has now become the first Spanish player to reach the US Open final since Nadal won his fourth title in 2019.

πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Έ https://t.co/yzMikWp654

Alcaraz will now look to become the second Spanish player to win at Flushing Meadows this century.


#5. Alcaraz one win away from becoming youngest World No. 1

Alcaraz at the 2022 US Open - Day 12
Alcaraz at the 2022 US Open - Day 12

Carlos Alcaraz will have no shortage of motivation when he takes on Ruud in the US Open final on Sunday.

With both men chasing the World No. 1 ranking, it will be a winner-takes-all shootout. If Ruud wins, he will become the first player from Norway to ascend to the top of the rankings. If Alcaraz prevails, he will become the first teenager to hold the World No. 1 ranking.

Lleyton Hewitt was three months short of his 21st birthday when he became the World No. 1 in 2000.

19y4m Carlos Alcaraz has till february 2024 (!) to become the youngest #1 ever (Lleyton Hewitt 20y9m).He is one win away. https://t.co/HQdw3Eqy7A

Alcaraz is also one of a handful of players to win three consecutive five-setters at Flushing Meadows. He could now become the first man to win four consecutive five-setters at a Major.

Only a handful of players have won four five-setters at a single Major, but none of them have done so at the US Open or gone on to win the title.

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Edited by Anirudh
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