Sep 11, 2022

US Open Finals "Beanalysis"

Casper Ruud vs. Carlos Alcaraz

So, the final tussle, it has finally come, and let’s be honest here, this is the final everyone wanted after the round of 16 knocked out the most liked players, me included. I actually predicted Carlos in the final, so I’m quite happy there.

Casper Ruud, my good friend, you are back in a Grand Slam final against a Spaniard, what is this? I’m getting some Deja Vu here. So Casper is as good as he is for one reason, and that’s his stability. His ability to keep that level of play consistent throughout the entire match, is why he’s made two slam finals this year. I actually really enjoyed the matches he played here this year. I didn’t get to see the Berrettini match, but the highlights were good. His match with Khachanov was one that I didn’t expect to enjoy as much as I did. I figured it’d be a Ruudfest with nothing good from Karen besides the serve. In actuality though, Karen’s return games were very solid, he broke Casper a couple times in set one, but then Ruud just turned his return game back around and won the break back, and that ability to consistently stay on level or ahead of Khachanov was why he won this match so easily, and his consistently good level will be beneficial if the match with Carlos goes long. Casper always seems to be in control of everything in the matches he’s played recently, except that one against Ben Shelton at Cincinnati, but nobody even knows what happened there. Ruud’s shots are always seeming to be calculated, and is almost always the right kind of shot to play in the situation he’s in, and that kind of play is better than just slamming the ball back from the baseline and not thinking about how your opponent will react to it, and how you can turn the rally into an offensive position, and not get put into a corner. But we all know Carlos Alcaraz has the ability to do that to a lot of players, and I don’t exactly think Ruud is immune, but I do think that it’ll give him an edge compared to Alcaraz’s other opponents. Ruud’s power in his shots does not really compare that well to Alcaraz, and I think the percentage shots will be executed better from Alcaraz.I really think Ruud has a decent chance to take the trophy and be the first Norwegian to win a grand slam, and the first Norwegian world number 1.

So, Carlos, welcome to the wonderful world of slam finals! You get a nice experience compared to a lot of others, because most people’s first slam final in the past 22 years have been against the big 3, and you get Casper Ruud, not quite the big 3. I did not see a lot of the Carlos match, I saw the first set, and then while I was busy doing something else for a bit, my computer broke, and I spent the next 3 sets trying to fix it, and when I finally fixed it, the scoreline surprised me. 2 all, I watched the last set intensely and enjoyed it. What surprised me the most was Tiafoe coming back in set 4. Going 4-1 down, coming back to win it in a tiebreaker. That’s some craziness right there. Carlos was playing well in the first set, and he held well, and it just seemed to be a warm up session for the rest of the match to come. I kind of expected the first set to go to a tiebreak, and of course Tiafoe being the tiebreak winner he is, he would win it, and then Carlos would turn on the jets and finish him in four, which soon happened. At least the first part. Of course, missing the next three sets was annoying, so I had to look up some bootleg highlights once again to see those sets, and it looks like sets 2 and 3 were how I expected them to be, easy Carlos wins. Set two surprisingly looked like Tiafoe was taking control of the rallies, and Alcaraz just couldn’t push him out with his stellar offense, but then slowly, as set two went on, Alcaraz just kept loosening the firm grip that Tiafoe had on the match, and then set 3 was just a total Alcaraz beatdown, as most expected. And then set four was looking to be an Alcaraz close out, and then France 1, 2, and 3 called for backup, and France 4 came out guns ablazing and, with the crowd rallying behind him, took set four to a tiebreaker, and won. Tiafoe’s serve throughout this match was on point, but his errors did play a part in breaking him down. The main deal breaker for Tiafoe, though, was Alcaraz and his ability to hit those crazy shots that you just have no chance at hitting back in, and there were just a lot of those. This match, and the match before it definitely showed us that there are chinks in the Alcaraz armor.

So, a lot to digest here, so get your small intestines ready, because it’s about to get crazy. So when it comes to the forehand, Carlos definitely has an advantage, his being a lot more powerful. The backhand also goes to Carlos because, again, it has that power to it. The errors, though, that one goes to Casper Ruud, he just has more precise and calculated shots. I think in terms of mental strength, Casper has to take it, because he can stay civil, stable and just overall very composed in his matches even when he’s in the middle of a bad loss. The nerves factor may come into plate here, as Carlos has not played in a slam final, while Casper has. I brought up fatigue in the last writeup with Carlos having played two 5 setters in a row, and now he’s stacked another on top of that. I said I thought it would affect his play, but it didn’t look like it, and with a whole day’s rest, he should be fine, in my opinion. In terms of serves, Carlos seems to have that kick to his serve that broke Casper down at the Miami Open final earlier this year, so if he puts that into play correctly, he could pull another win off. Their head to head is 2-0 Carlos, and that is very fitting. I have a lot to think about, and a lot goes into the decision here. So here we go…

My final match prediction for the 2022 US Open is…… (insert drum roll) RUUDBUCKS BABY! RUUD IN 4!

Thank all of you sincerely for attending my comedic rants disguised as writeups for the US Open this year, and I hope to see you back for when I do my next writeups. Spoiler Alert: it’ll be before AO next year.