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Alcaraz outlasts Zverev over five sets to win first French Open title

By Paul Myers - RFI
Tennis © Pierre René-Worms / RFI
SUN, 09 JUN 2024 LISTEN
© Pierre René-Worms / RFI

Third seed Carlos Alcaraz hoisted a first French Open crown on Sunday after a five-set victory over the fourth seed Alexander Zverev. The match on Court Philippe Chatrier finished  6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 after four hours and 19 minutes. Alcaraz, 21, becomes the youngest man to win trophies at Wimbledon, the US Open and the French Open.

"It's incredible you've won three Grand Slam titles on three different surfaces and you're only 21-years-old," said Zverev after receiving his runners-up trophy from six-time winner Bjorn Borg.

"You're an incredible player," he added. "To Carlos's team, you're doing an incredible job. To my team, we were close but not enough ... hopefully one day we will be able to hold this trophy together."

Alcaraz returned the compliments to Zverev.
"I know that everyone in my team is trying to help me improve as a player and grow up," he added.

"I call it a team but it is my family. It's amazing to have my real family here. I remember the time running home from school to watch the French Open on TV and now I'm holding the trophy in front of you."

Zverev started disastrously. He notched up two double faults on his way to losing his serve.

Chance

Fortunately for the 27-year-old German, Alcaraz was in equally munificent mood. And the Spaniard -  the youngest man to appear in finals at Grand slam tournaments on hard courts, grass and clay - lost his own service.

They steadied their respective ships until Alcaraz, showing a more buccaneering spirit, broke to lead 3-2 and consolidated his advantage.

Zverev displayed commendable fortitude to save two break points on the way to reducing the deficit to 4-3. But Alcaraz surged again to collect the next two games and the set 6-3 in 44 minutes.

The start of the second began with Alcaraz fending off three spearate break points to get his nose in front.

But Zverev broke through to lead 3-2 and he held on to take control of the set after one hour and 24 mins.

Power

With more punch in the Zverev forehand, Alcaraz began to struggle and a third double fault brought Zverev a 5-2 lead. He wrapped up the set 6-2 to level the match at one set apiece after one hour and 35 minutes.

The third was a tense, jagged affair. It turned on two Alcaraz returns getting held up in the wind and foxing Zverev.

But from 5-2 up, Alcaraz lost his way. Zverev surged through to 7-5.

But that was effectively as good as it got for Zverev who was playing in his second final at a Grand Slam tournament.

Alcaraz broke for a 2-0 lead in the fourth courtesy of a spectacular running forehand pass. He added two more games as Zverev faltered. But Alcaraz  never seemed totally convincing. Zverev cut the deficit to 4-1 but lost his serve to give Alcaraz, at 5-1 up, the opportunity to serve for the set. 

Solid

After messing up his chance in the third set, Alcaraz succeeded. And a curious match was all square after three hours and 23 minutes.

Tension inevitably plagued the early exchanges of the decider. Zverev missed two presentable volleys at the net and added a sixth double fault on his way to gifting Alcaraz a 2-1 advantage with his service to follow.

But even then Alcaraz seemed intent on returning the compliment.

Zverev squandered four points - three of them consecutive - to level at 2-2.

Alcaraz finally moved to 3-1. Zverev, who came from a double break down in his match against Tallon Griekspoor, refused to yield and saved a point which would have given Alcaraz a 4-1 advantage.

Leading 3-2, it was then the turn of Alcaraz to wobble and give Zverev an opening to gain parity at 3-3.

But he made it to 4-2 and then turned on the after-burners during Zverev's serve to stand at 5-2 with a big hand on the trophy.

The Coupe des Mousquetaires soon became available for a happy hug.

Which team do you think has the higher chance of winning the 2024 elections?

Started: 02-07-2024 | Ends: 31-10-2024

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