Carlos Alcaraz defeats Frances Tiafoe at the US Open semifinals in a battle of tennis’ rising stars.
When Carlos Alcaraz was 10 years old, his mom took him to her local court to watch Frances Tiafoe play in the first Grand Slam tournament he ever played. Alcaraz, now 23, won the U.S. Open last year.
For his effort, Alcaraz won’t have to live out the dream of playing in his first Grand Slam final in New York. He’ll just take a backseat to Tiafoe, who won his fourth U.S. Open title on Monday in the men’s doubles final at Flushing Meadows.
But he can finally take a shot at winning his first Grand Slam title a few years down the line. Or something.
“It’s like being born again, just having another title to dream about,” Alcaraz told The Associated Press in an interview on Tuesday at Manhattan’s Flushing Meadows.
Alcaraz, 27, was a three-time No. 1 in the world until he lost in the final of the Rogers Cup to Nicolas Mahut on Friday. In June, Tiafoe went on a tear, claiming his fourth U.S. Open crown with a victory over his compatriot and final-round foe David Goffin.
But he’s been so dominant this year, winning 25 straight matches and capturing the top spot in the men’s singles rankings, Alcaraz is only slightly concerned about a possible title run.
“I can’t see him losing a set at this point,” he said in the AP interview. “He was playing a very, very good tournament. He’s also not playing that good any more.”
Tiafoe and Goffin tied at 3-3 in the third set of the final, then Alcaraz, who lost his first set in six previous final encounters, won the first five games of the second set. He held serve and was up 2-0 in the tiebreaker, but Goffin sealed the win with a match-clinching 3-0, 6-2, 6-4 victory.
“I was in the zone mentally and I think I was feeling I could take a set or two,” said Alcaraz, who came up victorious against top-ranked Juan Martín del Potro in the quarterfinals.