Carlos Alcaraz defeats Frances Tiafoe at the US Open semifinals in a battle of tennis’ rising stars played in a rain-soaked Phoenix park.
Tiafoe is the more experienced of the two, a 25-year-old who has been at the top of the game. He boasts a 5-1 record in Grand Slams and a career-best ranking of No. 9. He’s ranked No. 4 in the world right now, a spot he’s earned this year after breaking through in 2017, when he earned his first US Open title. He was on fire, and, like, a week ago.
Tiafoe has grown up since 2017, when he was an overgrown 16-year-old with an ego to match his power. He is now a 25-year-old, a father, and a seasoned veteran. At the 2018 U.S. Open, where he won his 10th career title, he wasn’t the same player he had been just a few years earlier.
Alcaraz, meanwhile, has been rising the ladder ever since he got stopped in his tracks by Rafael Nadal in the third round last year. He has yet to make a Grand Slam final, and he has an uphill battle against Tiafoe to make the 2018 U.S. Open final.
The two battled at the U.S. Open finals just last week. Alcaraz played a great match against Milos Raonic, while Tiafoe fell to the Swede. Alcaraz took the opening set, and the second. Tiafoe bounced back to take the next two sets. Alcaraz played a beautiful game in the first game of the third, but Tiafoe came out of the service break to win.
Tiafoe’s rise is part of a much greater story. The rise of Alcaraz and Tiafoe is part of a story of a tennis’ rise up the ladder at the highest level. The men who beat Djokovic this week — Alcaraz and Raonic, who won a thrilling deciding set — are the next generation of young players who are on their way to greatness.
Alcaraz, who lives in London, is considered perhaps the best tennis player on the planet right now