Rafael Nadal denied chance at ATP world no.1 crown as Casper Ruud, Carlos Alcaraz reach US Open 2022 final

Rafael Nadal had the chance to walk out of New York with his third Grand Slam in 2022 and the elusive world no.1 ranking as well. As per his rankings points a fortnight back when the competition had begun at the Flushing Meadows, Nadal did not even have to win the trophy to claim the ranking spot. But an early exit, at the hands of Frances Tiafoe in the last 16 tie, put a setback on his chances of reclaiming the throne after two years before his apprentice Casper Ruud and compatriot, Carlos Alcaraz put an end to his hopes.

Nadal led the five-way battle at the start of the US Open for the top ranking spot alongside incumbent holder Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Ruud and Alcaraz. The Greek suffered a shock first-round exit, while both Medvedev and Nadal lost in the round of 16, leaving the battle up to Ruud and Alcaraz, yet Nadal stayed ahead in the race.

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For the two young guns to deny the 22-time Slam winner, they had to at least reach the final and on Saturday, they both did, in supreme fashion. In the day’s first semi-final, which featured a stunning 55-shot rally where the Norwegian emerged on top to grab the opening set, Ruud continue his dominance to beat Karen Khachanov 7-6 (5), 6-2, 5-7, 6-2. Later in the night session, Alcaraz played his second consecutive five-set tie, this time against Nadal conqueror Frances Tiafoe, winning 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-3, to give himself a shot at his maiden Grand Slam trophy.

With both Ruud and Alcaraz heading to the final, Nadal was official denied the shot at reclaiming the top ranking for the first time since February 2020. This also implies that come Monday, ATP will have a brand new world no.1 and it will be the champion of the US Open 2022.

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