U.S. Open: Carlos Alcaraz outlasts Frances Tiafoe, into historic final

Carlos Alcaraz
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At a U.S. Open that has at times looked like a guard-changing, Carlos Alcaraz faces Casper Ruud in a men’s final with unprecedented stakes: each eyeing his first major title and to seize the No. 1 ranking for the first time.

Alcaraz, at 19, can become the first teenage man to win a major since Rafael Nadal‘s first of a men’s record 22 titles at the 2005 French Open. He can also become the first teenage No. 1 in the world since the ATP rankings were introduced in 1973.

He dropped Frances Tiafoe in Friday’s semifinals 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-3, denying the first American men’s major finalist since 2009.

“I gave it everything I had, too good for Carlos tonight,” Tiafoe told a crowd that included Michelle Obama. “I gave everything I had the last two weeks. I came here wanting to win the U.S. Open. I feel like I let you guys down. This one hurts.

“I’m going to come back and I will win this thing one day.”

Alcaraz had already survived back-to-back five-setters that ended between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. to become the youngest men’s major semifinalist since Nadal at the 2005 French. He was also the youngest U.S. Open men’s semifinalist since Pete Sampras won the first of his 14 majors in 1990.

“In a semifinal of a Grand Slam, we have to give everything we have inside,” Alcaraz said. “I can see the No. 1 in the world, but at the same time it’s so far away.”

U.S. OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men

Ruud, the 23-year-old French Open runner-up, can make the single biggest jump to No. 1 in the world — from seventh in the rankings going into the U.S. Open. He dispatched Russian Karen Khachanov 7-6 (5), 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 — including a 55-shot rally to win the first set — in the early semifinal.

No Norwegian man or woman has been No. 1 in the ATP or WTA rankings since they were introduced in 1973 and 1975, respectively. Unlike Alcaraz, Ruud has major final experience — getting crushed by Nadal in the French Open final in June, winning just six games.

“After Roland Garros, I was of course extremely happy but at the same time humble enough to think that could be my only final in a Grand Slam in my career,” said Ruud, whose goal coming into the year was to make one Grand Slam quarterfinal. “In Roland Garros, there was royal families there watching. That was a little bit new experience for me. I hope I can be more ready for that on Sunday.”

Norway has been on a tear in international sport over the last two years.

At the Tokyo Olympics, it won gold medals in the men’s 400m hurdles (Karsten Warholm‘s world record) and 1500m (Jakob Ingebrigtsen), men’s beach volleyball (Anders Mol and Christian Sorum) and men’s triathlon (Kristian Blummenfelt, who this year won the World Ironman Championship).

It then won a record 16 Winter Olympic gold medals at the Beijing Games.

Erling Haaland made FIFA’s best 11 male soccer players for 2021, the first Norwegian to do so. Viktor Hovland ascended to No. 3 in the world men’s golf rankings, highest-ever for a Norwegian.

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Paris 2024 Olympic marathon route unveiled

Paris 2024 Olympic Marathon
Paris 2024
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The 2024 Olympic marathon route will take runners from Paris to Versailles and back.

The route announcement was made on the 233rd anniversary of one of the early, significant events of the French Revolution: the Women’s March on Versailles — “to pay tribute to the thousands of women who started their march at city hall to Versailles to take up their grievances to the king and ask for bread,” Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet said.

Last December, organizers announced the marathons will start at Hôtel de Ville (city hall, opposite Notre-Dame off the Seine River) and end at Les Invalides, a complex of museums and monuments one mile southeast of the Eiffel Tower.

On Wednesday, the rest of the route was unveiled — traversing the banks of the Seine west to the Palace of Versailles and then back east, passing the Eiffel Tower before the finish.

The men’s and women’s marathons will be on the last two days of the Games at 8 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET). It will be the first time that the women’s marathon is held on the last day of the Games after the men’s marathon traditionally occupied that slot.

A mass public marathon will also be held on the Olympic marathon route. The date has not been announced.

The full list of highlights among the marathon course:

• Hôtel de ville de Paris (start)
• Bourse de commerce
• Palais Brongniart
• Opéra Garnier
• Place Vendôme
• Jardin des Tuileries
• The Louvre
• Place de la Concorde
• The bridges of Paris
(Pont de l’Alma; Alexandre III;
Iéna; and more)
• Grand Palais
• Palais de Tokyo
• Jardins du Trocadéro
• Maison de la Radio
• Manufacture et Musées
nationaux de Sèvres
• Forêt domaniale
des Fausses-Reposes
• Monuments Pershing –
Lafayette
• Château de Versailles
• Forêt domaniale de Meudon
• Parc André Citroën
• Eiffel Tower
• Musée Rodin
• Esplanade des Invalides (finish)

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International Boxing Association lifts ban on Russia, Belarus

Boxing gloves
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The International Boxing Association (IBA) lifted its ban on amateur boxers from Russia and Belarus over the war in Ukraine that had been in place since early March.

“The IBA strongly believes that politics shouldn’t have any influence on sports,” the federation said in a press release. “Hence, all athletes should be given equal conditions.”

Most international sports federations banned athletes from Russia and Belarus indefinitely seven months ago, acting after an IOC recommendation. It is believed that the IBA is the first international federation in an Olympic sport to lift its ban.

The IOC has not officially changed its recommendation from last winter to exclude Russia and Belarus athletes “to protect the integrity of the events and the safety of the other participants.”

Last week, IOC President Thomas Bach said in an interview with an Italian newspaper that Russian athletes who do not endorse their country’s war in Ukraine could at some point be accepted back into international sports, competing under a neutral flag.

IBA, in lifting its ban, will also allow Russia and Belarus flags and national anthems.

“The time has now come to allow all the rest of the athletes of Russia and Belarus to participate in all the official competitions of their sports representing their countries,” IBA President Umar Kremlev, a Russian, said in a press release last week. “Both the IOC and the International Federations must protect all athletes, and there should be no discrimination based on nationality. It is the duty of all of us to keep sports and athletes away from politics.”

In 2019, the IOC stripped the IBA — then known as AIBA — of its Olympic recognition following an inquiry committee report into finance, governance, refereeing and judging. The IOC ran the Tokyo Olympic boxing competition.

The IBA will not run qualifying events for the 2024 Paris Games, but it does still hold world championships, the next being a men’s event in Uzbekistan next year.

Boxing, introduced on the Olympic program in 1904, was not included on the initial program for the 2028 Los Angeles Games but can still be added. The IBA must address concerns “around its governance, its financial transparency and sustainability and the integrity of its refereeing and judging processes,” Bach said last December.

On Sept. 23, the IBA suspended Ukraine’s boxing federation, citing “government interference.” Ukraine boxers are still allowed to compete with their flag and anthem.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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