Carlos Alcaraz makes history by winning US Open and becoming world’s youngest No

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TThen came the crucial game of the match, in which both men rose to a fabulous level of tennis. Alcaraz served at 5-6 in the third and he must have been desperate to avoid a misstep. After three consecutive five-setters, even a fourth might have been too much for this young Hercules.

Alcaraz defended the first set point with a sliding volley putaway and the second with a sharp overhead. Then, once in the tie-break, he harnessed the power to claim quick kills with his serves and returns. Despite his lack of height – at just six feet he is well below the tour average – Alcaraz can reach speeds of up to 130 mph, beating Ruud 14 to 4.

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With the finish line now in sight, Alcaraz’s aches and pains disappeared and he sprinted to his 6-4, 2-6, 7-6, 6-3 victory in 3 hours and 20 minutes. He lay down on the field in the approved manner before climbing into the crowd for a group hug with his family and coaches. Then he leaned back in his chair, tears streaming down his cheeks as he remembered the people who weren’t there.

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“My mother, she is not here, and my grandfather,” said Alcaraz during the presentation of the trophy. “I was thinking about them. A lot of family, our team, is here, but a lot of people from my family couldn’t come here to watch the final and I was thinking [about] all.

“This is something I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid,” Alcaraz added. “To be the number 1 in the world, to become a champion of a grand slam. All the hard work my team did, my family [did for] me – I am only 19 years old, so the tough decisions are with my parents and also with my team. This is something that is very, very special to me.”

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Alcaraz wins the US Open, as it happened