If you’ve got plans for the weekend, cancel them. The US Open is on its last day, and the final matchups are all set. And if this year’s tournament has shown us anything, it’s that tennis’ next generation is finally here.
In the men’s and women’s singles tournaments, none of the finalists are over the age of 24. And none of them are named Rafael Nadal or Serena Williams—legends whom many hoped they would see back at center court.
And most exciting for us, Filipina tennis star Alex Eala is also on her way to the finals of the US Open Juniors.
No matter who you’re rooting for, this year’s finals tournament is looking to be one of the most unpredictable and exciting US Opens in a long time. So, who are you placing your bets on?
Casper Ruud vs. Carlos Alcaraz
After losing to the 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal in this year’s French Open, Casper Ruud will be looking to win his first title tomorrow at the US Open final.
In his semifinal match against Karen Khachanov earlier, both players took turns breaking sets but were unable to win two consecutively to take the lead. Ruud won the first tie break and went on to win the second set rather comfortably. After losing the third set, the Norwegian came back in the fourth to take it home.
In the finals, he will be going up against Carlos Alcaraz in a battle for number one.
Throughout the entire tournament, the Spanish youngster has consistently been impressing on the court. He started off the competition strong, not missing a single set in his first three matches. In his next three, he went on to defeat his opponents in five-set matches, as he did today against Frances Tiafoe in their semifinal match.
The Spaniard has been a formidable opponent all throughout the tournament, able to come from behind and take control of his matches. And with the win, this marks his first-ever finals appearance.
Now, this finals match will not just be a battle for a maiden Grand Slam championship between Alcaraz and Ruud—it will also be a battle for the spot of world number one. Which of these two next-big-things do you think will sit on top of the world?
Iga Swiatek vs. Ons Jabeur
Iga Swiatek reaching the final match of the US Open’s Women’s tournament comes as no surprise, as she is number one in the world. Throughout her six matches, she has only lost two sets. But, in her round of 16 and semifinal matches, she had to win two sets from behind.
In her semifinal match yesterday, the 21-year-old lost the first set to Aryna Sabalenka. But after taking an emergency bathroom break, she bounced back to win the next two sets for the ticket to the final, where she will be facing Ons Jabeur.
Jabeur is a Tunisian professional tennis player. Ranked fifth in the world, she was definitely one of the best players in the tournament. In fact, all her matches in the US Open this year were won within two sets, except for her third-round match against Shelby Rogers.
Swiatek and Jabeur have faced each other in the past. Between their last four meetings, they each won twice, Swiatek winning the last one in the Rome final. But in this matchup, Swiatek, who is seven years younger, will be playing for her third Grand Slam championship. Meanwhile, Jabeur will be playing for her first.
With Swiatek’s finals experience and her ranking, she has a good chance of edging Jabeur out to win the title. But, Swiatek thrives more on clay courts whereas low-bouncing courts favor Jabeur.
Alex Eala vs. Lucie Havlickova
Alex Eala has been brilliant throughout the entire US Open Juniors tournament. She has not yet lost a single set throughout her four games, even when she went up against higher-seeded players. And now, she is headed to her first US Open final.
In her semifinal match against Canadian Victoria Mboko, Eala eased past Mboko in the first set, 6-1. But in the second set, she needed to come from behind after the ninth seed nearly handed Eala her first set-loss, 6-5. The Filipina forced the tie-break and won from a double fault by Mboko.
While she already has two Grand Slam titles from the 2020 Australian Open Juniors and the 2021 French Open Juniors doubles tournaments, this championship win would be Eala’s first singles Grand Slam title.
She’ll be going against Lucie Havlickova in the final match of the tournament. The second seed in the tournament and third on the ITF Junior Rankings, she will be Eala’s most highly-ranked opponent in the US Open so far.
While the Filipina will be competing for her first Grand Slam singles title, Havlickova won the French Open Girls Singles title earlier this year.
But given that Eala has not been competing in the junior tennis scene and has been spending more time on the professional tour, her experience and success give her an edge. On the women’s circuit, Havlickova is ranked 577th while Eala is currently at 297.
The final match will take place tomorrow first thing in the morning—literally, at 12:00 AM. Do we even need to ask you who your money is on for this match?