Carlos Alcaraz clinches French Open title to maintain perfect major finals record

Spaniard defeats Alexander Zverev to become youngest male player to win Grand Slam titles on all three surfaces

Powered by automated translation

Spain's Carlos Alcaraz won his first French Open title, beating Germany's Alexander Zverev 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 in Sunday's final.

The world number three has now won three Grand Slams after his Wimbledon title last year and his US Open triumph in 2022, and he has a perfect record in major finals.

The 21-year-old battled cramps to recover and win a gripping contest after four hours and 19 minutes on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Alcaraz has now has eclipsed compatriot Rafael Nadal to become the youngest man to collect major championships on three different surfaces. Nadal was about a year and a half older when he did it.

The Spaniard said: "I want to congratulate [Zverev] for a great beginning to his year, he played a great tournament, it's unbelievable the level you are playing at, unbelievable the level of work you are putting in every day.

"I am really graetful to have the team that I have. I know that everyone in my team is giving everything they have to help me improve as a player.

"It is amazing to have my family here today. I used to watch this tournament on TV at home, now I am here lifting the trophy in front of all of you. So thank you to everyone."

Alcaraz shrugged off an early break and blazed through the first set, which he finished with a big forehand winner, but he allowed Zverev to turn the tide and level the match as his unforced errors crept up.

Having steadied himself, Alcaraz was serving for the third set at 5-3 before another dip allowed Zverev to take the lead in the contest, but the Spaniard raced through the next set despite a thigh issue and raised his game to prevail in the decider.

Zverev lost after surging in front by reeling off the last five games of the third set. Alcaraz’s level dropped during that stretch and he seemed distracted by a complaint over the condition of the clay, telling chair umpire Renaud Lichtenstein it was “unbelievable.”

But he reset himself and surged to the finish, taking 12 of the last 15 games while being treated by a trainer at changeovers for an issue with his left leg.

Alcaraz and Zverev were making their first appearance in a French Open final. In fact, this was the first men’s title match at Roland Garros since 2004 without Nadal, Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer.

Nadal lost to Zverev in the first round two weeks ago; Djokovic, a three-time champion, withdrew before the quarter-finals with a knee injury that required surgery; Federer is retired.

There were some jitters at the outset. Zverev started proceedings with a pair of double-faults – walking to the sideline to change rackets after the second, as though the equipment was the culprit – and eventually got broken.

Alcaraz lost serve immediately, too, framing a forehand that sent the ball into the stands – which he would do on a handful of occasions – and double-faulting, trying a drop shot that led to an easy winner for Zverev, then missing a backhand.

Alcaraz managed to come out strong in the fourth set, grabbing 16 of the first 21 points to move out to a 4-0 edge, including one brilliant, sliding, down-the-line forehand passing winner that he celebrated by thrusting his right index finger overhead in a “No 1” sign, then throwing an uppercut while screaming, “Vamos!”

In the deciding set, a tired service game from Zverev, who had spent almost 24 hours on court in the fortnight, gave Alcaraz the early advantage.

The crowd were on their feet again when an astonishing flicked backhand cross-court winner helped secure another break.

Four minutes later the man from Murcia was lying on his back, Nadal style, celebrating a victory he has always seemed destined for.

Alcaraz will head to the Australian Open next year with the chance to become the youngest man to complete the career Grand Slam.

Zverev, 27, continues his wait for his first major title. He was the runner-up at the 2020 US Open and bowed out in the semi-finals in Paris each of the past three years.

Updated: June 09, 2024, 6:14 PM