Alcaraz Rallies Past Zverev For First French Open Title, Third Slam And More Records

Rafael Nadal might all but be gone but Spanish tennis is in good hands, very good hands. Carlos Alcaraz picked up the reign from Nadal Sunday taking the French Open title over Alexander Zverev in a wild 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory in 4 hours, 19 minutes.

“It was a very tough match, but I’m very happy to have come through it and to have learned from the situations I’ve faced so far,” said Alcaraz. “They’re moments in which I didn’t do well mentally and they took their toll… Today, I changed that. I was positive all the time, I was strong mentally and I didn’t get down at any point. To me, I’m proud to know that I’m not making the same mistakes twice.”

It was Alcaraz’s third Grand Slam title and it made him at age 21 the youngest man to win a Slam on three different surfaces.

“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. “It’s been unbelievable the support I receive. I feel like home.”

The favorite Alcaraz broke Zverev right off the back as the German tossed in two double faults to start the match. Alcaraz, though, wasn’t up to par as he was broken right back but a break at 2-all and one more would seal the set.

In the second, Zverev would get his serve going and grab the break go level. In the third, Alcaraz raised his game and raced out to a 1-break 5-2 lead. Smelling the finish line, things turn. Zverev ran off five straight games to stun the packed crowd and go up by 2-1 in sets.

Alcaraz sought treatment and was starting to look weary as he had just played four-plus hours to beat Jannik Sinner 48 hours ago. But nope, it was just the reverse as Alcaraz ran away with the set to force a fifth.

Alcaraz would get an early break and then serving at 2-1, 15-40, a ball an in-ball from Zverev was overruled by umpire Renaud Lichtenstein who can down from his chair to inspect the mark. Had it have been in, Zverev would have broken back. Hawkeye showed the ball in. But Zverev lost the point and eventually the game.

Despite a forearm issue, Alcaraz went wire-to-wire as the favorite and wrapped up it become the first man in the Open Era to win his semifinal and final at Roland Garros in five sets.

“It’s been incredible work the last month. We were struggling a lot with the injury,” Alcaraz said. “Coming back to Madrid, I didn’t feel well and then the next weeks with a lot of doubts coming here, not practicing too many hours on the court.

“I’m really grateful to have the team that I have. I know that everyone in my team is giving their heart to make me improve as a player and as a person so I’m really grateful and I call you a team but it’s a family.”

Alcaraz has now won Slams in each of the last three years, and in January at the Australian Open he will try to complete the Career Slam before turning the age of 22!

“Third Grand Slam, 21 years old, it’s incredible,” Zverev said of Alcaraz. “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.”

Zverev finished with 8 aces and 6 doubles faults, and won just 33% of second serves and converted just 6-of-23 break chances with 38 winners, 41 unforced.

Alcaraz was a strong 52 winners to 56 unforced and won 49% of his second serves, breaking 9-of-16.

Zverev falls to 0-2 in Slam finals with both losses in five sets. He had defeated Alcaraz earlier in the year at the Australian Open and at the French two years.

“He played fantastic. He played better than me the fourth and fifth set. It’s how it is,” Zverev added. “I felt like this Grand Slam final I did everything I could. At the US Open I kind of gave it away myself. It’s a bit different.”

Zverev finished the event playing over 23 hours of tennis. And perhaps the wear-and-tear and plus a 12-match win streak caught up to him.

“I lost focus, and on my serve I didn’t get the power from my legs anymore, which is weird,” he said losing the 2-1 set lead. “Because normally I do not get tired. I don’t cramp, I don’t get tired normally.

“But again, against Carlos it’s a different intensity, so maybe that was the case a bit. Yeah, maybe I have to look at my preparation. Maybe I have to look at how I do things on a physical base as well.

“Of course, look, I felt from the tennis level I was playing decent and he was playing decent for three sets. Then I dropped a lot.”

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