Carlos Alcaraz to end year as youngest No 1 after Rafael Nadal exits ATP Finals

Carlos Alcaraz will become the youngest year-end no. 1 player in ATP history at the end of December after Rafael Nadal was eliminated from the ATP finals.

New Delhi,UPDATED: Nov 16, 2022 07:19 IST

Carlos Alcaraz

Carlos Alcaraz tops Rafael Nadal to becomes youngest year-end No. 1 (Reuters Photo)

By India Today Web Desk: Rafael Nadal was knocked out of the ATP Finals on Tuesday after Casper Ruud defeated American Taylor Fritz in their round-robin match in Turin. With Nadal’s exit, teenager Carlos Alcaraz was assured of finishing the year as world number one.

Alcaraz will be confirmed as the youngest year-end number one since the ATP rankings began in 1973. At 20 years and ten months, Lleyton Hewitt was the previous youngest year-end No. 1 player. Alcaraz broke that record and raised the bar for future competitors who want to challenge him.

Nadal needed to win the tournament to unseat compatriot Alcaraz at the top of the rankings, but straight-set losses to Fritz on Sunday and Felix Auger-Aliassime earlier on Tuesday meant he needed Ruud to lose in straight sets to keep his hopes alive.

The Norwegian, on the other hand, won the first set 6-3 against Fritz, thanks to his much-improved serve.

When Ruud let a 5-1 lead slip away and an energised Fritz leveled the match at 6-6 in their first career meeting, it was anyone’s match in the third-set tiebreak.

But Ruud kept his cool and won 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(6) on his third match point, advancing to the tournament’s semi-finals for the second year in a row.

“It was a close one,” Ruud said. “I guess we were both nervous there at the end but luckily I was able to pull through.”

Auger-Aliassime, who is now coached by Nadal’s uncle and long-time mentor Toni, who is sitting in his box, will face Fritz in his final group match for a chance to advance to the last four.

“I had one match to get used to the conditions and I felt my game was better today, I was hitting it with precision and consistency,” Auger-Aliassime said.

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