Carlos Alcaraz defeated Casper Ruud in a pulsating US Open final to claim his first Grand Slam title in the early hours of Monday morning.

The Spaniard won 6-4, 2-6, 7-6, 6-3 at the Arthur Ashe Stadium, prevailing in a 73-minute third set on his charge to victory. Alcaraz was on the brink of falling to a 3-0 game deficit after surrendering the second set but held his nerve and broke back to force a tiebreak.

The third seed – who reached the final with a thrilling five-set triumph over American Frances Tiafoe – dismantled fifth-seed Ruud in the tiebreak, winning 7-1 as the momentum shifted drastically in his favour. Alcaraz served beautifully in the fourth set and produced some sublime defensive shots to break midway through.

It was the 19-year-old’s first Grand Slam final, with his previous best finish at a major coming in the quarter-finals of the US Open in 2021 and the French Open this year. 23-year-old Ruud, meanwhile, was aiming to go one better than he did at Roland Garros, where he fell to Rafael Nadal in the 2022 final.

However, it was not to be for the Norwegian, who could only look on as Alcaraz fell to the ground in delight after claiming the fourth and deciding set 6-3 with a booming serve. The pair shared a warm embrace at the net after producing no shortage of brilliance on the court.

Carlos Alcaraz fell to the floor as he claimed the fourth and deciding set

Teenager Alcaraz’s victory means he has become the youngest ever male player to claim the world number one ranking, and he dove into the crowd to celebrate with his family and Juan Carlos Ferrero, who has coached him since he was 16 years old.

Alcaraz then soaked up the atmosphere and saluted the sell-out crowd before sinking to his chair to take the moment in. Remarkably, the youngster only won five more points than Ruud throughout the final, proving just how closely-contested and intense it was.

Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud shared a warm embrace after the final

Ruud, who is the new world number two, showed a touch of class in his post-match interview, sending his thoughts and prayers to those who lost loved ones on 11 September 2001. Turning his attention to the match, he said: “I’m disappointed but I will continue to chase my first Grand Slam and that number one ranking.”

Newly-crowned champion Alcaraz was visibly moved and echoed Ruud’s message about the 9/11 attacks, acknowledging it was a “special day” to be playing in New York City. He added: “To be number one is something I have dreamed of since I was a child. It is tough to talk right now, there are a lot of emotions. All the hard work I have done with my team and my family… this is something that is really, really special for me.”