Carlos Alcaraz Credit: Margot Jordan photo

Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz, only 19, is the new No. 1 ranked men’s player in the world after winning the US Open title on Sunday at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens. Alcaraz defeated 23-year-old Casper Ruud of Norway in four sets 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (1), 6-3. He is the youngest world No. 1 in the history of the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) rankings. Ruud, the runner up in this year’s French Open, moved up to No. 2 in the rankings.

“This is something I’ve dreamt of since I was a kid,” said Alcaraz. “To be No. 1 in the world, to be a champion.”

The Alcaraz-Ruud match was played in front of a sold-out crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium, which was sold out throughout this year’s tournament, the first time that has happened in the structure’s  25-year history. A record total of 776,120 fans attended matches during the two-week main draw, and overall, including the US Open Fan Week, the number of people that passed through the gates was 888, 044.  

Alcaraz defeated No. 22 Frances Tiafoe, a native of Hyattsville, Maryland, on Friday night, 6-3, 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-3 to advance to the final. Ruud defeated 27th ranked Russian Karen Khachanov, 7-6, 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 in the semifinals. Tiafoe bested Rafael Nadal, the all-time leader in men’s grand slam titles (22) on his way to the semifinals.

He was the first American man to make it a grand slam final since Andy Roddick at Wimbledon in 2009. An American man hasn’t advanced to the US Open finals since Roddick in 2006. “I gave everything I had,” said an emotional Tiafoe after falling to Alcaraz, with former First Lady Michelle Obama watching from the stands.

“I gave everything I had the last two weeks. Honestly, I came here and wanted to win the US Open. I feel like I let you guys down. This one really hurts. This one really, really hurts.”

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