Alcaraz escapes to secure Roland Garros crown

SPANISH young Carlos Alcaraz has become the youngest male player to win a Grand Slam on all three surfaces after defeating opponent Alexander Zverev in an epic five-set contest overnight. Coming back from two sets to one down, Alcaraz only dropped thee games in the last two sets to win in four hours and 19 minutes, 6-3 2-6 5-7 6-1 6-2.

It was Zverev’s second five-set loss in a Grand Slam final after losing to Dominic Thiem from two sets to love up in the 2020 US Open final. For Alcaraz, it marked his third major, having also won the 2022 US Open and 2023 Wimbledon ad saw him move past former world number one Novak Djokovic to be second in the world behind Jannik Sinner.

“Since I was a little kid finishing school running just to put the TV on to watch this tournament and now I’m lifting the trophy in front of all of you,” Alcaraz said post-match. “It’s been unbelievable the support I receive. I feel like home.”

The result turned around Zverev’s four-set win over Alcaraz at the Australian Open, with the Spaniard breaking Zverev twice in the first set to take it 6-3. As impressive as Alcaraz was in the first set, he hit his first rut midway through the second set. The German, who had not broken since the second game of the match, did it twice consecutively as he reeled off five straight games from 1-2 down to win it 6-2 and level the match.

As the matched ticked into midway through the third set, a huge break to love then hold saw Alcaraz move 5-2 up and be on the verge of victory. However yet again Zverev found a way, winning the last five games of that set to take it 7-5 and snatch the set in an hour and five minutes to move two sets to one up.

That was one of his last hurrahs though as the Spaniard bolted out to a 4-0 leave in the fourth, only for Zverev to break back. That was immediately countered by an Alcaraz break, and he held on for the fourth set in just 42 minutes, 6-1.

Controversy occurred early in the fifth where after being broken, Zverev had a chance to break back with three break points in the fourth game. What appeared to be a double fault on replay, Alcaraz’s second serve was called in, and it shook Zverev as Alcaraz quickly whipped up the break points and then held on in a seven-minute game.

Zverev would also hold, but from there despite the games being long, Alcaraz had his measure, winning the last three games of the match – including an incredible break to love in the seventh game featuring three winners – to take the deciding set out 6-2, and the match in four hours and 19 minutes.

“It has been incredible work,” Alcaraz said to his team post-match. “The last month we were struggling a lot with the injury. Looking back to Madrid, I didn’t feel well. The next week there were a lot of doubts and then coming here and practising not too much. I am really grateful to have the team that I have and the people I have around.

“I know that everyone in my team is giving their heart just to make me improve as a player and a person. To grow up. So I am really grateful and I call you a team, but it is a family.”

Zverev congratulated Alcaraz post-match and was thankful to be back in the Roland Garros final, two years since having to leave the court in a wheelchair with a serious ankle injury during the semi-final.

“Third Grand Slam, 21 years old, it’s incredible,” Zverev said. “You won three different ones. It’s an amazing career already. You’re already a Hall of Famer and you’ve already achieved so much.

“To my team, thanks for the last two weeks and the long journey we’ve had since the injury on this court. We were close today but not enough. Hopefully one day we’ll be able to hold this trophy together.”

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