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Carlos Alcaraz v Casper Ruud: US Open tennis 2022 men’s final – live! | US Open Tennis 2022


Key events

Second set: Alcaraz 2-4 Ruud* (* – denotes next server)

Brilliant point at 0-30, with Ruud running Alcaraz to all corners of the court, mixing in a nice lob that Alcaraz chases down and a drop shot that he cannot. Alcaraz then botches a volley, and it’s 30-30. The middle of this set has been a lot more interesting than the beginning.

Then Ruud anticipates an Alcaraz drop shot to win another point. Break point!

Another great rally. Ruud again chases down an Alcaraz drop shot. He lobs. Alcaraz gets back to hit it but hits long. Break!

Second set: *Alcaraz 2-3 Ruud (* – denotes next server)

Now it’s getting less routine. Alcaraz drops a beauty just over the net, Ruud scrambles to get it, and Alcaraz hits a winner into the open court. The next rally goes on a while, and Alcaraz hits into the net.

At 15-15, Alcaraz goes for another drop shot, and it just misses wide. Ruud follows a good serve with a winner.

But Alcaraz didn’t get this far without a bag of tricks. He hits a tough angled backhand winner, then gets to deuce. In the next rally, he hops forward as if to anticipate that the next shot will bounce high for him, and it does. Backhand winner, break point.

Pressure on Ruud, and he responds with a service winner. Still no official aces, but that’ll do.

At deuce, Alcaraz tries to attack the second serve and fails. On game point, Ruud pins Alcaraz back well behind the baseline, and the Spaniard hits long. Ruud holds.

Second set: Alcaraz 2-2 Ruud* (* – denotes next server)

A point! A point for the returner!

And that’s it. To quote the Gramercy Riffs at the end of the film The Warriors, the rest is ours. (“Ours” being Alcaraz’s. OK, that’s a weak reference.)

Christie Brinkley watches with her son, Jack Brinkley Cook. Neither is Norwegian.
Christie Brinkley watches with her son, Jack Brinkley Cook. Neither is Norwegian. Photograph: Jason Szenes/EPA

Second set: *Alcaraz 1-2 Ruud (* – denotes next server)

Alcaraz won the first point of the set off Ruud’s serve. Since then, the server has won 12 straight points in the time it takes me to get to the fridge and back.

Second set: Alcaraz 1-1 Ruud* (* – denotes next server)

Are we sure this is Alcaraz? Isn’t each game supposed to last an hour? He holds at love with aces bookending the game.

Second set: *Alcaraz 0-1 Ruud (* – denotes next server)

As if to turn my prediction on its head, Ruud hits wide as Alcaraz approaches the net, taking this game to 30-30. But the Norwegian (not Dane, not Swede) hits a big winner and a big serve to hold.

Hathaway is joined at her seat by Zach Braff. I’ll make an effort to get a Christie Brinkley photo. I’m drawing the line at Kendall Jenner and David Lauren, the son of designer Ralph Lauren who overlapped with me at Duke.

First set stats …

(According to the Open’s site)

Winners: Alcaraz 13-6 Ruud

Unforced errors: Alcaraz 12-7 Ruud

Aces: Alcaraz 3-0 Ruud

Double faults: Alcaraz 0-1 Ruud

Points won: Alcaraz 32-29 Ruud

First serve in: Alcaraz 63%-52% Ruud

Net points won: Alcaraz 9-for-11, Ruud 3-for-7

Carlos Alcaraz wins the first set 6-4

Alcaraz decides he likes being at the net, and he simply overwhelms Ruud despite the Norwegian’s tricky shot to handcuff Alcaraz on his approach at 15-0. Ruud ends with an unforced error off Alcaraz’s serve, and the Spaniard holds at love to win the set.

Anne Hathaway is in the house.

Spain's Carlos Alcaraz celebrates winning the first set.
Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz celebrates winning the first set. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

*Alcaraz 5-4 Ruud (* -denotes next server)

Bruce Millar, who claims to have no Scandinavian ancestry at all, says: “Sorry to scotch Gary Naylor’s theory, but Jonas Vingegaard, who won the Tour de France this year, is Danish, not Norwegian. I know, you think all those Scandis are the same, but they’re not (and while Haaland is indeed Norsk, Denmark has by far the better football team, in the shape of Brentfod FC, Christian Eriksen and so on.)”

Is that Brentford, or is there a Danish team called Brentfod?

I don’t mean to neglect the match in progress, but there’s little suspense on Ruud’s service games right now. I predict Alcaraz will serve out the set here, and then Ruud will take the second.

Alcaraz 5-3 Ruud* (* – denotes next server)

Exceptional sportsmanship from Ruud, admitting that the ball bounced twice just before he got his racket to an effective Alcaraz shot. In Ultimate, they say karma eventually comes back to you, and Ruud wins the next two points.

Alcaraz, having had enough of cosmic forces, hits an ace and then a killer drop shot at the net. He goes on to hold.

Harry McDonald points out that the Tour de France champion is Danish, not Norwegian. That’ll teach me to let people go without fact-checking. Apologies to Jonas Vingegaard, who won a memorable duel with Tadej Pogačar.

And apologies to everyone else who’s emailing to make the same point.

*Alcaraz 4-3 Ruud (* – denotes next server)

Alcaraz has hardly made an impact on Ruud’s serve since his break. Ruud quickly goes up 40-0 but surrenders a point with an out-of-the-blue moment of flamboyance, a forehand between-the-legs shot that sails. He gets back to business on the next point and holds.

ESPN keeps showing Alcaraz’s coach, fellow Spaniard and one-time world No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, who looks he has grown awfully tired of sitting in the stands through all of his protege’s epic matches.

Juan Carlos Ferrero, lost in thought on Friday.
Juan Carlos Ferrero, lost in thought on Friday. Photograph: Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Alcaraz 4-2 Ruud* (* – denotes next server)

Two winners and an ace for the Spaniard, though he does concede a couple of points.

I should point out that Norway is also pretty good at curling, and we in the curling world (I spent my morning cleaning up paint at our local cub as we prep for the season) are all still mourning the loss of 2010 silver medalist Thomas Ulsrud earlier this year. Yes, he was the guy with the pants.

Norwegian men on the curling catwalk in the 2018 Olympics.
Norwegian men on the curling catwalk in the 2018 Olympics. Photograph: Harry How/Getty Images

*Alcaraz 3-2 Ruud (* – denotes next server)

When will we see a routine hold? Now. Ruud holds at love.

Guardian contributor Gary Naylor notes Norway’s dominance in competitive events …

Norway has the world chess champion, the Tour de France champion, Erling ‘Terminator’ Haaland, shedloads of Winter Olympics gold medals and they want the men’s tennis number one @duresport?

Who knew a nation of tall people with tons of money and healthy lifestyles would do this?

— Gary Naylor (@garynaylor999) September 11, 2022

Awfully kind of Magnus Carlsen to abdicate his chess championship and let someone else win something.

When Norway starts beating everyone in cricket and rugby, I think we just give up.

Alcaraz 3-1 Ruud* (* – denotes next server)

Alcaraz is firmly in control, until he isn’t, and then he faces break point. He takes that point with a nice drop shot and elicits an error to take the advantage. (The US Open stats feed calls that an unforced error, but I disagree.) Alcaraz clinches it with an emphatic smash.

ESPN points to one cluster of fans that includes Jerry Seinfeld, Jessica Seinfeld, Jon Bon Jovi and … Debbie Gibson? Did I hear that right, or was it only in my dreams?

The US Open features heavily in a classic Seinfeld episode, of course.

Huma Abedin, Vogue magazine editor-in-chief Anna Contour, Jessica Seinfeld, and Jerry Seinfeld get ready to watch.
Huma Abedin, Vogue magazine editor-in-chief Anna Contour, Jessica Seinfeld, and Jerry Seinfeld get ready to watch. Photograph: Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports

*Alcaraz 2-1 Ruud (* – denotes next server)

One break point, then two, and now three, as Alcaraz hits a winner to end a frenetic 14-shot rally. 40-0.

Ruud easily brushes aside the first of them. Then he can’t handle Alcaraz’s return. Break!

Alcaraz 1-1 Ruud* (* – denotes next server)

Ouch. At 15-15, Alcaraz goes for the serve-and-volley, but the “volley” part goes into the net a few feet ahead of him. Ruud hits a neat backhand winner off Alcaraz’s second serve to get two break points.

You’d think someone who has spent as many hours on the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium wouldn’t show any nerves here, but this is not a great start to the teenager’s first service game. He comes back quickly, though, with two serves Ruud can’t return, and then an ace, then a quick winner.

Both players have faced break points. Both have held.

*Alcaraz 0-1 Ruud (* – denotes next server)

The Norwegian opens with a service winner and gets to 30-0, but it goes downhill quickly from there, and he faces break point after Alcaraz attacks his second serve. Alcaraz hits long in high-powered baseline rally, and we’re at deuce. This is going to be another five-hour match, isn’t it?

A double fault gives Alcaraz another break point, but Ruud serves well and maintains the initiative in the ensuing rally to fend it off.

Ruud comes to the net on the next point, and then it gets interesting. Alcaraz defends multiple attempts to put the game away but can’t find the great lob he used against Tiafoe, and Alcaraz finally hits into the net. Ruud holds from there.

First celebrity on the wires: US musician Questlove.
First celebrity on the wires: US musician Questlove. Photograph: Jason Szenes/EPA

Want some great visuals from the Open? Check The Guardian’s gallery:

The most surprising of these photos: A Spotted Lanternfly, which is an invasive species in the US. As are half the plants in my yard.

And one last comment on broadcasting in the UK: Leslee Rainbird says to check Amazon Prime.

Ruud will serve. Off we go …

Celebrity predictions

Who’ll get some airtime on ESPN or pop up in wire photos?

A few predictions on my end …

Lindsey Vonn (Alpine skiing), almost certainly. She’s a big fan.

Michelle Obama (former first lady), maybe. Did she stick around after being here earlier in the week?

Bill Clinton (former president), unlikely.

Spike Lee (director), unlikely. Have we seen him since Serena Williams lost?

Billie Jean King (tennis legend, venue namesake), absolutely.

Serena Williams (tennis legend), unlikely.

Pete Davidson (former Saturday Night Live cast member, celebrity boyfriend), wild card. I don’t think he has been there this week, but why not? He’s as New York as they get.

Paul Simon (singer/songwriter). I’ll say maybe.

Anyone else?

Head to head …

Ruud was in another final earlier this year at the 1000-level (that’s good) final in Miami, losing in straight sets to … Alcaraz.

They also played on clay last year, with Alcaraz winning that one as well.

Prematch interview with Casper Ruud, and the question has something to do with the fact that he was also in the final at Roland Garros. He doesn’t offer too much other than it’s been a great year.

Carlos Alcaraz is asked about the prospect of being the youngest player to take the No. 1 spot and about how he has said he has “no time to be tired” after his epic matches thus far. He agrees.

National anthem time. The USA’s, that is. Not Norway’s or Spain’s. Do they do this at Wimbledon, Roland Garros or the Australian Open? Just curious.

Aiden Doyle answers: “Download the US Open app and there is a radio stream on there. Works in the UK and the commentary is excellent.”

I already have mail, a simple request for information on a UK radio broadcast of this men’s final. Can someone who isn’t in the United States help?

If you’d like to reach me during this match, please do email me. I may occasionally check Twitter as well.

A general question on the Davis Cup, Billie Jean King Cup (formerly Fed Cup) and Olympics: US collegiate tennis, which attracts a considerable number of international players as well as Americans, has a team format with six singles players and three doubles teams. The doubles matches are played first, and which team wins two of the three matches collects a point. Each singles match is also worth a point.

Would that be a better format that what we have now in the Davis and Billie Jean King cups? Would a team format make the Olympics more interesting?

Or how about the format for World Team Tennis (which is taking 2022 off)? That has men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, and mixed doubles, all playing one set to five rather than six, with each game worth a point in the team score. (A shutout would therefore be 25-0.)

In other events …

Women’s doubles has just concluded, with Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic defeating the USA’s Taylor Townsend and Caty McNally 3-6, 7-5, 6-1.

Men’s wheelchair singles also wrapped today, with second seed Alfie Hewitt of Britain defeating top seed Shingo Kunieda of Japan.

The top seeds are also meeting in the women’s wheelchair singles at Louis Armstrong Stadium, with Japan’s Yui Kamiji leading the Netherlands’ Diede de Groot. Later on at Armstrong, it’s another matchup of top two seeds in quad singles – an all-Netherlands matchup of 19-year-old Niels Vink and Sam Schroder.

Vink and Schroder teamed up earlier to win the quad doubles event. We had another case of doubles partners in the singles final in boys wheelchair events, with 17-year-old Ben Bartram of Norwich defeating 17-year-old Dahnon Ward of Keyworth in singles but teaming up to win the doubles event.

Other winners in New York:

  • Women’s singles: Iga Swiatek (Poland)

  • Men’s doubles: Rajeev Ram (USA)/Joe Salisbury (UK)

  • Mixed doubles: Storm Sanders/John Peers (Australia)

Barbora Krejcikova (right) and Katerina Siniakova celebrate their women’s doubles win.
Barbora Krejcikova (right) and Katerina Siniakova celebrate their women’s doubles win. Photograph: Al Bello/Getty Images

How they got here …

Ruud cruised past Britain’s Kyle Edmund, beat Tim van Rijthoven in four sets, then needed four hours and 23 minutes to beat the USA’s Tommy Paul – and that was with a 6-0 fifth set. His fourth-round win over France’s Corentin Moutet was a bit quicker – 6-1, 6-2, 6-7, 6-2. Ruud followed that with a straight-set win over Italy’s Matteo Berrettini in the quarter-finals and solid three-hour win over Karen Khachanov, spoiling the run of the man who spoiled Nick Kyrgios’ run in the quarter-finals.

Alcaraz scaled El Capitan, solved Fermat’s Last Theorem, brokered lasting peace in the Middle East and defeated home-national favorite Frances Tiafoe.

At least, it seems as if his feats in the early rounds have been this arduous. He opened with straight-set wins over a pair of Argentinians – Sebastian Baez and Federico Coria – and beat 21-year-old American Jenson Brooksby.

Then it got interesting:

3 hours and 54 minutes to beat Croatia’s Marin Cilic 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

5 hours and 15 minutes to beat Italy’s Jannik Sinner 6-3, 6-7, 6-7, 7-5, 6-3.

4 hours and 19 minutes to beat the USA’s Frances Tiafoe 6-7, 6-3, 6-1, 6-7, 6-3.

He’s still just 19, which means he has spent roughly half his life on the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Who’s No. 1?

We’ll know in about two hours. Or three. Or five. Probably by midnight, anyway.

If you don’t know the names Casper Ruud and Carlos Alcaraz — well, first of all, you’ve missed a great tournament. But moving forward, you certainly WILL know these names, and you should start by knowing that the winner today will take not only US Open title but the top ranking in the world.

Alcaraz looks like the face of the future. He’s only 19, but he already has a dizzying array of shots and a bottomless gas tank.

(Wait — isn’t a bottomless gas tank a bad thing? Wouldn’t that be a big spill? And why use fossil fuels at all? Maybe a self-recharging battery?)

Ruud, though, is far more than a speed bump on the way to Alcaraz’s ascension. He has nine career titles, though eight are on clay. This matchup will surely recur many times over the years, especially at Roland Garros.

So get comfortable, order some pizza (New York-style, of course, in honor of the occasion — but also because Chicago-style pizza is actually a casserole) and follow along as this breathtaking tournament draws to a conclusion.

Sal Finocchiaro prepares pizza at Palermo Pizzeria and Restaurant, which he co-owns, on Staten Island in New York.
Sal Finocchiaro prepares pizza at Palermo Pizzeria and Restaurant, which he co-owns, on Staten Island in New York. Photograph: Andrew Kelly/Reuters

Beau will be here shortly. In the meantime, here’s Tumaini Carayol on what is likely to be an absorbing contest:

Over the course of an intense, chaotic and wildly entertaining US Open semi-final between Carlos Alcaraz and Frances Tiafoe, as their combined creativity, athleticism and joy merged to create entertainment in its purest form, Alcaraz absorbed so many blows. He conceded a difficult first set tiebreak with a double fault, then after establishing his dominance, he couldn’t hold on. Alcaraz continually lost his serve, failed to take a match point and found himself in a fifth set.

There were so many moments when the momentum could have dangerously shifted, but no matter how the match twisted, he maintained his intensity until the end. Across the three consecutive five-set battles that have led him to the final, this resilience has been his defining characteristic. It will make him so hard to put away as he faces Casper Ruud for the men’s US Open title on Sunday.

Together, they have engineered a fascinating scenario that marks a stark contrast to the years of dominance by the big three. Not only will Ruud and Alcaraz compete for their first grand slam title in the final, but the world No 1 ranking is also on the line. It is rare enough for players to reach the world summit for the first time after winning a slam. The most recent occurrence in the men’s game coming when Novak Djokovic won Wimbledon in 2011, his third major.

The obstacles for Ruud are clearly numerous. Despite reaching his second grand slam final of the season, Ruud has never beaten a top-10 opponent at a grand slam tournament – what a time it would be to finally do so. They faced each other in a big final earlier this year at the Miami Open, a first Masters 1000 final for both, and although Alcaraz still had not yet broken the top 15, he won in two tight sets.

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