T Tennis

Carlos Alcaraz celebrates his tournament victory. © APA/afp / EMMANUEL DUNAND

French Open: Alcaraz is the king of Paris

Carlos Alcaraz won the French Open for the first time on Sunday evening against Alexander Zverev after a long and varied final.

Carlos Alcaraz won the tennis French Open for the first time. The Spaniard won a final thriller in Paris on Sunday against the German Alexander Zverev after 4:19 hours with 6:3,2:6,5:7,6:1,6:2. At just 21 years old, Alcaraz has already secured Grand Slam titles on all surfaces. He became the youngest player in the professional era to achieve this feat, having triumphed at the US Open (hard court) in 2022 and Wimbledon (grass) in 2023.

The 27-year-old German, however, also lost his second major final. For him there was deja vu. Like in 2020 in Flushing Meadows in a memorable game against Lower Austrian Dominic Thiem, there was no happy ending after a five-set battle. Alcaraz, on the other hand, also successfully mastered his third Grand Slam final. The reward is not only prize money of 2,4 million euros, but also a move to second place in the ATP world rankings from Monday. This will then be led for the first time by South Tyrolean Jannik Sinner, whom Alcaraz also defeated in five sets in the semi-finals.

Alcaraz had to go through five sets for the twelfth time in his career, and he emerged victorious eleven times. In Roland Garros he became the seventh Spaniard to win the trophy in the open era, making the early exit of 14-time winner Rafael Nadal forgotten. In the head-to-head with Zverev he made it 5:5.

At the beginning of their premiere Paris final, both players were noticeably nervous and they couldn't get their serves through. To make it 3-2, the Spaniard again took the service from his opponent with zero, then shone with his enthusiasm and ended the first set with another break. After that, things continued to be level at 2-2 before Zverev, who was now much more active, suddenly appeared dominant and equalized the set with four games in a row.

Set number three was extremely strange, as everything went for Alcaraz up to a 5-2 lead with one break. Especially with this comfortable lead, the Spaniard no longer moved so well, made slight mistakes and thus enabled the German to get two breaks and win the round 7:5. After a missed break point from Alcaraz, Zverev used his second set point.

Alcaraz keeps his nerve

A preliminary decision was not made. With the deficit behind them, Alcaraz took the initiative again and pulled away to 4-0 with a double break. Zverev managed a rebreak to make it 1:4. Alcaraz had to have his left thigh treated and took painkillers. He didn't notice the problems afterwards, he continued to move well and confidently saved himself into the fifth set with two more games.

There Alcaraz made it 2-1 with a break. The ups and downs on both sides continued happily. At first the Spaniard was behind 0:40, fended off a total of four break points and increased the lead to 3:1. In the next marathon game, Zverev was able to reduce the score to 2:3 after fending off a break ball. Alcaraz also had problems with his serve, but held it and didn't give up any more games. In the crucial points, the Spaniard, driven by coach Juan Carlos Ferrero, was simply more calm.

As a result, he won the title on his fourth appearance in Paris after losing the semi-final against Novak Djokovic in 2023. It was his 14th ATP triumph. Zverev once again suffered a low blow on Court Philippe Chatrier, where he seriously injured his foot in the semifinals against Nadal two years ago.

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