WATCH: Ruud's last encounter with Alcaraz came in the Miami Open final in April.


NEW YORK—Casper Ruud had two viable paths to world No. 1 when he sat down for post-match press on Friday.

Had Carlos Alcaraz lost his second semifinal over Frances Tiafoe, the No. 5 seed would have been guaranteed an accession regardless of what happens in his second Grand Slam final.

But if Alcaraz won, they would play for both title and ranking.

While Ruud tried to be diplomatic after his four-set victory over Karen Khachanov, the famously serious Norwegian briefly let his typically implacable veneer slip.

Q. Would you like to be the No. 1 tonight or to fight for it on Sunday?

CASPER RUUD: I think what's most fair is if we both reach the final and whoever wins the final reaches the world No. 1. That would be I think the ideal situation.

\If I go to bed as No. 1, I will sleep pretty damn well, I guess (smiling). \

Alcaraz ultimately survived Tiafoe in five sets, meaning Ruud will need to win the US Open to assure himself the top spot. If that happens, count on him sleeping very well Sunday night.