Carlos Alcaraz defeats Frances Tiafoe at the US Open semifinals in a battle of tennis’ rising stars.
When Carlos Alcaraz fought through a grueling round of rain and wind to defeat Frances Tiafoe in a five-setter on Saturday, the US Open veteran looked a different athlete.
This is the first US Open final between two players 14 years apart at the time, and there was no doubt one was a better player: Alcaraz is 35 years old, while Tiafoe is just 22. But it’s a match between two of the sport’s next greats.
Alcaraz, who is ranked No. 32, has won 22 career singles titles, most by a player in the top 50. Before this year, he was in contention for a third career US Open title at the age of 34. But this was the first time Alcaraz has held three of the most prestigious tennis titles in history: three Grand Slam titles. He has been to two U.S. Open finals, the most in any slam. And for the first time since 2005, he is at the US Open finals for three straight decades.
He is playing his final grand slam title match, his 12th-straight Grand Slam final. It’s a moment he’s waited for since he first began playing tennis in 1996.
“I’ve waited two times longer,” Alcaraz said after his 6-2, 7-5 victory over Tiafoe in the fifth of the final four matches. “But we waited four years so that’s cool, too.”
This was Alcaraz’s fourth straight US Open final. Now he’ll need to win his last three straight major tournaments. Only Roger Federer has accomplished that feat since Alcaraz was the last No. 1 male for six straight U.S. Open titles.
“I think I can beat any guy in this tournament. I can beat anybody, I guess,” said Alcaraz,