Casper Ruud called facing off against Carlos Alcaraz in the US Open final with the world number one ranking also on the line "the ideal situation" after successfully navigating the challenge of Karen Khachanov in Friday's semi-final.
Ruud needed just over three hours to defeat the Russian 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 5-7 6-2, becoming the first Norwegian man to ever reach the US Open final.
With Alcaraz outlasting Frances Tiafoe in a five-set battle of attrition, the 23-year-old Ruud and 19-year-old Alcaraz will both be seeking their first ever grand slam title in Sunday's decider.
Speaking to the media before Alcaraz's match, Ruud said he hoped it would be the Spaniard who made it through so they could play off for the number one ranking.
"I think what's most fair is if we both reach the final and whoever wins the final reaches the world number one," he said. "That would be, I think, the ideal situation."
He then dove into some strategy about what it takes to beat the teenage sensation, saying "I will seek my revenge" for the two losses he has suffered at the hands of Alcaraz in Miami and Marbella this season, both in straight sets.
"I think if I want to beat Carlos, I'll need to play very precise with all the shots that I hit," he said. "Especially trying to keep him a little bit further back in the court, to play with good depth and length on all my shots.
"If he steps in, he can do anything with the ball. He can rip a winner. He also has great touch with the dropshot. I think he has one of the best dropshots on tour. He can do both shots back and forth, it will sort of get you off guard sometimes with the dropshot.
"If you play with good depth and good length, it's tougher to hit dropshots. That will be something that I will try to focus on.
"We're playing for the tournament and also to be world number one – of course, there will be nerves and we will both feel it.
"I hope it will be a good match. He has beaten me a couple times and I will seek my revenge."
One advantage Ruud will have over Alcaraz is the fact that this is not his first rodeo, having made the French Open final this year where he lost to Rafael Nadal, but he feels that experience can only help him.
"I mean, Roland Garros, the final, [Nadal] obviously gave me a good beating," he said.
"After the final I said, If I ever reach one again, I hope it is not Rafa on the other side of the court in Roland Garros because it's sort of an impossible task I think for any player. I'm happy that it's not Rafa on clay.
"I hope it can have prepared me a little bit. At least I know a little bit of what I'm facing when I'm stepping on the court, seeing the trophy on the back of the court, seeing tons of celebrities.
"Even in Roland Garros, there was royal families there watching. That was a little bit of a new experience for me – I hope I can be more ready for that on Sunday."