Tiafoe is the player to beat at the US Open

Tiafoe is the player to beat at the US Open

Carlos Alcaraz defeats Frances Tiafoe at the US Open semifinals in a battle of tennis’ rising stars (video)

The 19-year-old world No. 50 made a compelling case that he is a force to be reckoned with.

Tiafoe won three sets against world No. 8 Carlos Alcaraz in the quarterfinals at the US Open on Monday. Tiafoe is the most recent player to make a run to the semifinals at the major tournament. He did so against Alcaraz in their only career meeting before this tournament.

This season, Tiafoe has been making his case as a player of the year. He beat No. 8 Kevin Anderson to reach the semifinals at the French Open last month. Over his three previous matches here, Tiafoe won all three in straight sets.

Alessio Di Mauro/Associated Press

The American is ranked No. 3 in the world. Alcaraz is ranked No. 9.

But that hasn’t stopped Alcaraz from making a case the player to beat is Tiafoe.

Not only had he won their only career meeting before this tournament, Alcaraz says the young American is simply better.

“I think it’s an easy answer,” Alcaraz told NBC News on Monday. “The kid is better than me. He’s not afraid of anybody. I don’t think he’s afraid of anyone. I think he’s going to win a lot more than me, that’s for sure.”

A player of the year candidate?

There’s a lot of intrigue surrounding Tiafoe and Alcaraz.

The 19-year-old American is a world No. 10 and the No. 3-ranked player in the world. Alcaraz, 20, is No. 9 and the No. 6-ranked player in the world. In other words, they’re ranked behind the No. 1 player who happens to be the defending champion.

That said, Alcaraz beat Tia

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