Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal have embraced two encounters this year. The older Spaniard emerged at the top in that epic Indian Wells semi-final, while the youngster avenged that loss in front of the home crowd at the Madrid Masters.
Carlos and Rafa were on the semi-final course at the US Open, entering the draw as the 2nd and 4th seed and hoping to face each other in the last four. While Alcaraz reached that stage, Nadal slipped in the fourth round against Frances Tiafoe, allowing his young compatriot to fight for the title and the ATP throne.
Carlos grabbed the opportunity with both hands, defeating seven opponents and becoming the seventh-youngest Major winner at 19 years and four months. Alcaraz’s coach Juan Carlos Ferrero would have loved to see his pupil against Nadal in the semi-final, saying it could have been an excellent encounter.
Carlos Alcaraz claimed the US Open crown while Rafael Nadal lost in R4.
Nadal entered his 16th US Open as one of the favorites, seeking the 3rd Major crown of the season and the ATP throne at 36. Rafa played only one match between Wimbledon and the US Open, and he could not find form in New York following an abdominal injury.
The Spaniard defeated three rivals before facing the home favorite, Frances Tiafoe, in the fourth round. Rafa experienced a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 loss in three hours and 34 minutes at Arthur Ashe Stadium and left Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud in a battle for the ATP throne.
The American overpowered the Spaniard with aggressive tennis, taking the crucial points and celebrating a career-best win. The home star cracked 49 winners and 28 unforced errors and delivered five breaks that carried him over the top.
Nadal grabbed only two breaks, not enough to force a decider despite leading 3-1 in the fourth set. Frances stayed calm and rattled off five straight games to emerge at the top and move into his first US Open quarter-final.
Carlos Alcaraz had to work hard en route to the title, beating three consecutive rivals in five sets and saving a match point versus Jannik Sinner in the quarter-final. Carlos overpowered Tiafoe in the semi-final and faced Casper Ruud in the most significant duel in their careers.
Carlos scored a 6-4, 2-6, 7-6, 6-3 triumph to wrap up two perfect weeks in New York and become the first teenager with a Major crown since Nadal at Roland Garros 2005.