Carlos Alcaraz surged into his first Grand Slam final and gave himself a chance to become No. 1 at age 19 by ending Frances Tiafoe’s run at the U.S. Open with a 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-3 victory on Friday night.
No. 3 Alcaraz moved ahead by grabbing nine of 10 games in one stretch and could have ended the semifinal when he held a match point in the fourth set. Tiafoe saved that and forced a fifth set by improving to 8-0 in tiebreakers during the tournament.
Showing no signs of fatigue from his 5-hour, 15-minute quarterfinal win that ended in the wee hours of Thursday, Alcaraz was better down the stretch, taking four of the last five games.
Alcaraz will face No. 7 Casper Ruud for the championship on Sunday with so much on the line: The winner will become a major champion for the first time and lead the rankings next week.
Ruud, a 23-year-old from Norway, claimed a 55-shot point to cap the opening set of his semifinal and wound up beating Karen Khachanov 7-6 (5), 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.