Carlos Alcaraz has been putting on quite a performance at the 2022 U.S. Open. Now, the 19-year-old from Spain is only one win away from capturing the first Grand Slam tennis title of his career.
Alcaraz notched his third consecutive five-set victory on Friday when he defeated Frances Tiafoe in the semifinals of the men's singles tournament. On Sunday, the No. 3-seeded Alcaraz will take on No. 5-seeded Casper Ruud in the final of what has been a thrilling event at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City.
Like Alcaraz, Ruud is also playing in the U.S. Open final for the first time and is seeking his first victory at a major tournament. So either way, a first-time Grand Slam champion will be crowned Sunday.
Here's everything else you need to know heading into the Alcaraz-Ruud bout, which will be the final match of the 2022 U.S. Open.
Men's Singles Final Info
Date: Sunday, Sept. 11
Start Time: 4 p.m. ET
Live Stream: ESPN app
Over the past two years, Carlos Alcaraz has been a player on the rise. Prior to 2021, he had never played at a major tournament. He then reached the quarterfinals at the 2021 U.S. Open and 2022 French Open, but he hadn't made it past that point at a Grand Slam event.
That changed this week in New York, and Alcaraz put in a ton of work to get to the U.S. Open final. He cruised through the first three rounds, winning each of those matches in straight sets, but things got much more competitive from there.
In the round of 16, Alcaraz defeated No. 15-seeded Marin Cilic 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. Then in the quarterfinals, Alcaraz outlasted No. 11-seeded Jannik Sinner to win 6-3, 6-7 (7), 6-7 (0), 7-5, 6-3.
Alcaraz had reason to be tired, especially after that quarterfinal match didn't end until 2:50 a.m. ET. Yet he came back two days later and beat Frances Tiafoe in the semifinals, notching a 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-3 victory.
"I feel great right now," Alcaraz said after that match, per Howard Fendrich of the Associated Press. "I mean, a little bit tired."
Alcaraz can't be too tired, because he still has one more match to go: a meeting with Casper Ruud in the final with the U.S. Open title on the line. And like Alcaraz, the 23-year-old Ruud has been on an impressive run in New York.
Ruud won his first-round match in straight sets, but four of his past five bouts have gone either four or five sets. Ruud needed only three sets in the quarterfinals against No. 13-seeded Matteo Berrettini, but he needed four against No. 27-seeded Karen Khachanov in the semis.
This will be the second time that Ruud will play in the final of a Grand Slam event. He had never made it past the round of 16 through his first 13 career major tournaments until he reached the final at this year's French Open. However, Ruud fell short of his first Grand Slam title, losing to Rafael Nadal in three straight sets.
"After Roland Garros, I was, of course, extremely happy, but also humble enough to think that could be my only final of my career," Ruud said, per ESPN.
It wasn't, and now, Ruud will have another opportunity to win a major tournament. But it's not going to be an easy task going up against Alcaraz.
Ruud knows that, too. Alcaraz has won each of the two previous head-to-head meetings between the two, which included a victory on a hard court in the final of the Miami Open in April.
In that match, Alcaraz defeated Ruud in two straight sets. But Sunday's meeting could be much longer, especially because of how these two standouts have been playing since arriving at the U.S. Open. So get ready for what should be a four- or five-set match.