Carlos Alcaraz will face Alexander Zverev in French Open final

League: Tennis

Posted on: 07 Jun, 2024 at 09:56 PM

Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

Third-seeded Carlos Alcaraz advanced to his first French Open final with a 2-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over second-seeded Jannik Sinner on Friday in Paris.

Alcaraz, 21, outlasted Sinner to become the youngest player to reach a Grand Slam final on all three surfaces. The Spaniard emerged victorious on the hard courts at the U.S. Open in 2022 and was victorious on the grass at Wimbledon in 2023 before besting the Italian to gain a berth in the final on the red clay at Roland Garros.

Alcaraz will face fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany in Sunday's championship match. Zverev reached his first French Open final by defeating seventh-seeded Casper Ruud of Norway, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2, in the other semifinal on Friday.

Sinner, the reigning Australian Open champion, overcame a cramp in his hand to secure a 2-1 lead in sets before Alcaraz responded with a flourish. Alcaraz benefited from a strong service game to capture the fourth set before breaking the Italian's serve early in the fifth en route to winning the match in four hours and 10 minutes.

"You have to find the joy suffering," Alcaraz said. "That is the key, even more here on clay at Roland Garros. Long rallies, four-hour matches, five sets. You have to fight, you have to suffer but as I told my team, you have to enjoy suffering."

Alcaraz enjoyed a 65-39 edge in winners over Sinner en route to improving to 5-4 in head-to-head competitions.

"The toughest matches that I have played in my short career have been against Jannik," Alcaraz said. "The U.S. Open in 2022, this one. Jannik is a great player. The team he has as well and the great work he puts in every day and I hope to play him many, many more matches like this against him. One of the toughest matches that I have played for sure."

Despite the loss, Sinner, 22, will rise to No. 1 in the ATP rankings for the first time on Monday.

Zverev snapped a five-match losing skid in Gram Slam semifinals, reaching a major final for the first time since losing to Dominic Thiem at the 2020 U.S. Open. He had lost at the French Open semifinals in 2021, ‘22 and ‘23 -- the latter to Ruud in straight sets.

In 2022, Zverev sustained a severe ankle injury against Rafael Nadal that forced him to retire in the second set.

"I am extremely happy," Zverev, 27, said after Friday's match. "I have so much history on this court and had some of the best memories and worst memories on this court. I am so happy to be in the final finally on my fourth semifinal. I am going to give it my all on Sunday."

Ruud, 25, appeared off to a strong start Friday to stop Zverev's match winning streak at 11 this year as he led 3-0 and won the first set. But the German got stronger as the match progressed, while the Norwegian showed fatigue and saw a trainer about a stomach issue early in the third set.

Zverev closed out the match with his 13th consecutive service hold to win in two hours and 35 minutes. He totaled 19 aces and won 48 of 56 first-serve points (86 percent), converted 5 of 12 break-point opportunities and collected more winners than Ruud, 54 to 34.

"Casper is too good of a player to be waiting and not to play your game," Zverev said. "I did that last year and lost very easily. I knew I had to be much more aggressive and take it on to him and I did and I am pleased the balls went in today."

The first German man to reach the French Open final since Michael Stich in 1996, Zverev also defeated 14-time champion Nadal of Spain in the first round and beat Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands and Holger Rune of Denmark in consecutive five-set matches during his path to Sunday.

--Field Level Media