Carlos Alcaraz believes handling his nerves will be a key factor in his first Grand Slam final after he beat Frances Tiafoe in an epic semi-final at the US Open.
For a third consecutive match, Alcaraz needed all five sets to prevail 6-7(6) 6-3 6-1 6-7(5) 6-3 to set up a clash with Casper Ruud, who beat Karen Khachanov earlier on Friday night.
The winner of the final on Sunday will also become the new world No. 1, replacing Daniil Medvedev at the top of the ATP rankings.
“I can see the number one in the world, but at the same time, it’s so far away,” said Alcaraz after the match.
“I have one more to go but against a player who plays unbelievable. He deserves to play a final, he played the final of a Grand Slam at Roland-Garros. It’s my first time.
“I’m going to give everything that I have. I will have to handle the nerves of being in a final of a Grand Slam, but obviously I’m really, really happy.
“As I said before every match, I’m going to enjoy the moment and let’s see what happens.”
To beat Tiafoe, Alcaraz produced some outstanding shots and looked on course to win in four sets.
He had a match point at 6-5 in the fourth set, but a dramatic point saw Tiafoe force a tie-break which he won.
Alcaraz managed to recover to win a memorable semi-final in front of a packed crowd at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“We are in a semi-final of a Grand Slam, we had to give it everything that we had inside of us,” said Alcaraz.
“We had to fight until the last ball. It doesn’t matter if we are fighting for five or six hours, we have to give everything on court.
“Today, Frances gave everything so it’s amazing.”