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    Carlos Alcaraz wins third grand slam title with five-set victory at the French Open over Alexander Zverev

    Christophe Ena/AP

    Carlos Alcaraz lifts the French Open trophy after his five-set victory against Alexander Zverev.



    CNN
     — 

    Carlos Alcaraz won his third grand slam title and first at the French Open on Sunday, defeating Alexander Zverev 6-3 2-6 5-7 6-1 6-2 in an engrossing contest.

    With the victory, the 21-year-old Alcaraz becomes the youngest man to claim a grand slam title on every surface having won the US Open in 2022 and Wimbledon last year.

    He came through a tense match against Zverev on Court Philippe-Chatrier to add to his collection of trophies, rallying from two sets to one down in impressive fashion.

    In windy conditions, the Spaniard showcased his fearless brand of tennis in front of a lively Parisian crowd.

    Having saved multiple break points to maintain the lead in the deciding set, he went a double break ahead before serving out for the victory in four hours and 19 minutes, sinking to the floor and punching his fists in delight.

    Alcaraz remains unbeaten in grand slam finals and is the youngest man to triumph at the French Open since compatriot Rafael Nadal won the third of his 14 singles titles in 2007.

    “The crowd has been great (for me) from the first match until today,” Alcaraz said in his on-court interview, having thanked his team and family. “I just have good words for you guys for the support I’ve received, not only in matches but in practices … You’ve made this tournament so special.”

    After Iga Swiatek won the women’s singles title in straight sets on Saturday, this was a much tighter affair as momentum swung to and from each player throughout.

    The pair exchanged breaks in a nervy start to the match before Alcaraz gained the upper hand with a break at 2-2.

    He proceeded to wrap up the set with a thumping forehand winner, but from there Zverev upped his intensity and produced much better tennis in the second set.

    The German, aiming to win his first grand slam title having lost to Dominic Thiem in five sets in the 2020 US Open final, had an 83% first-serve success rate in the second set as he leveled the match having gone a double break ahead.

    It looked as though Alcaraz had regained control of the match in the third set when he saved three break points to move into a 5-2 lead. Suddenly, however, his play dipped and Zverev came roaring back, winning the next five games to lead for the first time in the match.

    Jean-Francois Badias/AP

    Zverev, playing in his first French Open final, chases down a shot against Alcaraz.

    The world No. 3 needed to respond and did so in style. An outrageous whipped forehand handed Alcaraz a 2-0 lead in the fourth set before a well-executed drop shot engineered another break of Zverev’s serve two games later.

    An exchange of breaks followed either side of a medical timeout for Alcaraz, who then held his serve to force a decider.

    This was just the second time since 2005 that the men’s French Open final had gone to five sets, and a string of unforced errors from Zverev – including a double fault – was a sign that the pressure was starting to take its toll.

    Having moved up a break, Alcaraz then had to dig himself out of a 0-40 hole the following game to maintain the advantage.

    The finish line in sight, a stunning backhand passing shot helped him on the way to another break, and from there winning a third grand slam title – on hard courts, grass, and now clay – was only a formality.

    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Alcaraz celebrates winning a third grand slam title — all before his 22nd birthday.

    Zverev had his best-ever run at the French Open against the backdrop of an assault case, which, on Friday, a Berlin court announced that he and his former partner had agreed to settle with no admission of guilt from Zverev.

    Asked about the settlement prior to the final, the World No. 4 said that he was “happy that it’s over” but didn’t “ever want to hear another question about the subject again.”

    He had to come through two five set matches – against Tallon Griekspoor and Holger Rune – in his run to the final, as well as recovering from a set down against Casper Ruud in the semifinals.

    Alcaraz, by contrast, had spent less time on court than his opponent, despite carrying an arm injury prior to this year’s French Open. He improves his record in five-set matches to 11 wins and only one loss – a remarkable statistic for such a young player.

    One of those marathon wins was against Australian Open champion and soon-to-be world No. 1 Jannik Sinner in the semifinal, making Alcaraz the first man in the Open Era to win the final and the semifinal of the French Open in five sets.

    He may not have been at his best throughout the final against Zverev – hitting 56 unforced errors alongside 52 winners – but his latest grand slam triumph was further evidence that Alcaraz thrives when playing under enormous pressure in high-stakes matches.

    This was another milestone performance in what looks likely to be a remarkable tennis career.

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