Carlos Alcaraz Outlasts Alexander Zverev to Win History-Making French Open Title

Carlos Alcaraz is celebrating a historic win at the French Open.

The 21-year-old Spanish tennis player defeated Alexander Zverev in five sets to capture the title at Roland Garros on Sunday to become the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all three surfaces.

Carlos AlcarazAlcaraz and Zverev battled for 4 hours, 19 minutes, but Alcaraz came through 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2.

His 2024 French Open title sits alongside his triumphs at the 2022 US Open and at last year’s Wimbledon.

“Winning a Grand Slam is always special,” Alcaraz said afterward. “Winning your first in every Grand Slam is always super special.

“But in Roland Garros, knowing all the Spanish players who have won this tournament and be able to put my name on that amazing list is something unbelievable. Something that I dream about being in this position since I was started playing tennis, since I was 5, 6 years old.”

Carlos AlcarazThe triumph secures Alcaraz’s spot in tennis history, as he becomes the seventh player to win a Slam event on all three surfaces — following in the footsteps of Jimmy Connors, Mats Wilander, Andre AgassiRoger FedererRafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. But he’s the youngest to achieve the feat, having turned 21 in May.

Nadal completed his trio at 22 years, 7 months when he won the 2009 Australian Open.

Alcaraz said the French Open meant the most to him, given that he came into the competition with injury concerns.

“Probably this one is the moment that I’m really proud about myself, because everything that I have done the last month just to be ready for this tournament with my team, a lot of talks with them,” Alcaraz said. “So I’m going to say this one is the most that I am proud about myself.”

It was Zverev’s second Grand Slam final, but he has now lost both in five sets, having fallen in the 2020 US Open final to Dominic Thiem.

“It is what it is,” Zverev said. “Look, he played fantastic. He played better than me the fourth and fifth set. It’s how it is. 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.”

Alcaraz, meanwhile, became the first man at the French Open to win five-set matches in both the semifinal and final since Rod Laver in 1962 — and just the eighth to do it in any Grand Slam event since the Open era began in 1968.

Alcaraz came into this event managing an arm injury that had forced him to withdraw from the Monte Carlo Masters and Barcelona Open. He lost in Madrid to Andrey Rublev and withdrew from Rome with the same injury. So he had only four matches on clay coming into the tournament, but he came through the opening rounds in confident form despite saying he was unable to hit his forehand at full power. He dispatched J.J. WolfJesper De Jong, Seb Korda, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Stefanos Tsitsipas en route to a semifinal with incumbent world No.1 Jannik Sinner, but Alcaraz came through 2-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Zverev won the Italian Open and then opened his Roland Garros campaign by defeating 14-time champion Nadal in the first round. He then got past David GoffinTallon GriekspoorHolger Rune, Alex de Minaur and Casper Ruud to book his spot in the final.

Alcaraz started Sunday’s match as the better of the two players, taking the first set 6-1. He was then up a break in the second, only for Zverev to win the next five games. The same thing happened in the third set, with Alcaraz up 5-2, only to lose 7-5.

Alcaraz had treatment on his left leg during the break, and continued to have physio work at changeovers.

“It was something that I started to feel in the semifinal,” Alcaraz said. “Playing five sets, it’s demanding. After the match you’re going to feel something. If not, you’re not human.”

After taking the fourth set 6-1, Alcaraz started the fifth in the ascendancy and went up a break, but Zverev threatened to break back.

Down 2-1, Zverev had two break points, and thought he’d won the game when Alcaraz double-faulted at 15-40. The ball was called out, only for umpire Renaud Lichtenstein to overrule that and deem it in, meaning the point would be replayed.

Zverev claimed later that he’d seen footage showing that the ball was in fact out.

“I mean, look, there’s a difference whether you’re down 3-1 in the fifth set or you’re back to 2-all. That’s a deciding difference,” Zverev said afterward. “Yeah, it’s frustrating in the end, but it is what it is. Umpires make mistakes. They’re also human, and that’s OK. But of course, in a situation like that, you wish there wouldn’t be mistakes.”

From there, Alcaraz saved four break points in that game and went on to close out the fifth set to secure the title and improve his record to 11-1 in five-set matches.

“I know that when I’m playing a fifth set, you have to give everything, you have to give your heart,” Alcaraz said. “In those moments, it’s where the top players give their best tennis. I want to be one of the best tennis players in the world, so have to give my extra in those moments and show the opponent I’m fresh — like I’m playing in the first game of a match.”

Alcaraz now plans to get a tattoo of Sunday’s date — June 9, 2024 — to go with the dates from his other two Grand Slams.

“I will do it for sure,” said Alcaraz, whose US Open tattoo is on the back of his neck. “[This tattoo] will be on the left ankle, Wimbledon was on the right one, this will be on the left one, with the date of today. It’s something I’m going to do. I don’t know if it’ll take a month, or two months, but I’ll do it.

“I just want to keep going, and let’s see how many Grand Slams I’m going to take at the end of my career. Hopefully reach the 24, but right now I’m going to enjoy my third one, and let’s see in the future.”

Leylah Fernandez Helps Canada Advance in United Cup Play

Leylah Fernandez has helped Canada advance…

The 21-year-old half-Ecuadorian Canadian tennis player and 2021 US Open finalist led Canada to a 2-1 victory over Chile in its opening United Cup match on Sunday.

Leylah Fernandez Fernandez defeated Daniela Seguel 6-3, 6-2 before Nicolas Jarry leveled the Group B tie for Chile by beating Steven Diez in straight sets.

Diez had replaced Felix Auger-Aliassime, who was rested with a minor knee issue.

Fernandez and Diez then won the deciding mixed doubles against Seguel and Tomás Barrios Vera 7-5, 4-6, 10-8 to seal the tie for the Canadians.

“I’m extremely happy with the way I played,” world No. 35 Fernandez said after her 73-minute win over Seguel. “It wasn’t the greatest match because it is my first match of the season, the nerves, but I’m extremely happy with the way that I was able to manage it.”

Mixed teams from 18 countries are playing in Perth and Sydney in what doubles as a warmup for the Australian Open.

Last month, Fernandez helped lead Canada to its first-ever Billie Jean King Cup title.

Marcos Giron Upsets No. 8 Seed Felix Auger-Aliassime at Japan Open to Reach First ATP 500 Semifinal

Marcos Giron continues his impressive run in Japan…

The 30-year-old Spanish American professional tennis player pulled off an upset against eighth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, defeating the Canadian tennis player 6-1, 6-4 triumph o advance to the semifinals of the Kinoshita Group Japan Open Tennis Championships.

Marcos GironGiron, currently ranked No. 79 in the world, is a qualifier for the tournament.

Giron rode a lightning-fast start in both sets to an 81-minute win against Auger-Aliassime, who had shown signs of a return to form by reaching his first tour-level quarterfinal since May.

Yet he could not match Giron’s consistency in blustery conditions inside Ariake Coliseum. He led 4-0 in the first set and 3-0 in the second, ultimately converting five of eight break points he earned to charge into his maiden ATP 500 semifinal.

“I’m really happy with today’s performance,” said Giron, who held his nerve after losing four of five games in the middle of the second set. “Felix is obviously a phenomenal player, been Top 10 in the world, won a lot of titles. He’s beaten me down pretty good the last few times we played, so coming in today I knew I had to play well and I had to play aggressive.

“It is windy, but I started off really well. In the second set I went up a break and it cooled off, got even windier, and it got a little tricky. He raised his level, but we are professional tennis players, we do this for a living, and we’ve got to be ready for anything that comes our way.”

Giron has previously upset Norwegian Casper Ruud, the second seed, 6-3, 6-4 on Wednesday to move into the quarterfinals.

He’ll next face fellow American Ben Shelton in the semifinals on Saturday.

Leylah Fernandez to Make Debut at Upcoming United Cup Mixed Team Event

United Leylah Fernandez stands…

The 21-year-old half-Ecuadorian Canadian tennis player will take part in the new-look United Cup mixed team event in Perth and Sydney from December 29 to January 7 as one of the key warm-up tournaments for the Australian Open.

Leylah FernandezFernandez, who will be paired up with compatriot Felix Auger-Aliassime, will compete for the first time as she represents her home country.

France, the No. 4 seed, will be led by part-Spanish French tennis player Caroline Garcia and Adrian Mannarino.

Team Poland, led by world No. 2 and four-time Grand Slam champion Iga Swiatek and Hubert Hurkacz, has been named as the top seed for the 2024 edition after the entries from the top 16 countries were released by Tennis Australia.

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari will lead No.2-seeded Greece, with the defending champion United States, featuring Jessica Pegula and Taylor Fritz, seeded third. Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova will headline the Czech Republic team alongside Jiri Lehecka while Croatia rounds out the top six, featuring Borna Coric and Donna Vekic.

China’s Qinwen Zheng and Zhizhen Zhang and the Netherlands’ Tallon Griekspoor and Arantxa Rus will also compete for the first time.

Serbia will be led by Novak Djokovic and Olga Danilovic.

Other entries include Norway’s Casper Ruud, Germany’s Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber and Britain’s Cameron Norrie.

Each team will consist of men’s singles, women’s singles and mixed doubles.

The Australian Open is scheduled for Melbourne Park from January 14-28.

Francisco Cerundolo Upsets Felix Auger-Aliassime to Reach Fourth Round at Miami Open

Francisco Cerundolo has pulled up an upset at the Miami Open.

The 24-year-old Argentine professional tennis player defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-2, 7-5 in a third-round match at the Florida tournament.

Francisco Cerundolo,Cerundolo, ranked 25th in Miami, scored a crucial break over fifth-seed Auger-Aliassime to go up 6-5 in the second set before serving out for the match.

He made the most of his opportunities, breaking Auger-Aliassime four times on six chances. He faced only two break points, saving one.

Auger-Aliassime saw his streak of six straight quarterfinals at Masters 1000 events come to an end.

It was the third high-profile third-round meeting between the players, with Auger-Aliassime winning at Indian Wells and the Australian Open.

Cerundolo said he fed off the energy of the crowd.

“Super happy to get another top-10 win, another important win for me,” he said. “I think I played really good from beginning to end. Super nice to play here. A lot of Argentinian, Latin people. … Last year was amazing. So I’m really excited to be in the round of 16 again and try to keep winning.”

Cerundolo advanced to face Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego, a 6-3, 6-4 winner over No. 12 seed Frances Tiafoe in one of the night matches slowed by a nearly two-hour rain delay.

Carlos Alcaraz Becomes Youngest Year-End No. 1 in ATP History

Carlos Alcaraz has another a place in tennis history once again…

The 19-year-old Spanish professional tennis player is the youngest year-end No. 1 in the history of the ATP computerized rankings.

Carlos AlcarazHe also joins fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal as the first players from the same country to claim the top two spots at the close of a season since Americans Pete Sampras and Michael Chang in 1996.

The final men’s tennis rankings for 2022 were published Monday, and Alcaraz’s rise from No. 32 at the end of 2021 is the largest single-season jump to No. 1.

Alcaraz, who turned 19 in May, has remained atop the rankings since he won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open in September by beating Casper Ruud in the final.

That made Alcaraz the first male teen at No. 1 since the ATP computerized rankings began in 1973.

He’s the first man in 20 years other than Nadal, Roger FedererNovak Djokovic or Andy Murray — since Andy Roddick in 2003 — to finish at No. 1.

Alcaraz ended his season early after tearing an abdominal muscle while competing at the Paris Masters a month ago.

The 36-year-old Nadal, meanwhile, is the oldest man to finish a year ranked first or second. He also extended his own record by placing in the top 10 at the end of a year for the 18th consecutive season. The recently retired Federer is the only other man with that many top-10 finishes over the course of a career.

Nadal won the Australian Open and French Open to raise his men’s-record Grand Slam total to 22 trophies, one ahead of Djokovic and two ahead of Federer.

Ruud finishes at No. 3, followed by No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas, No. 5 Djokovic, No. 6 Felix Auger-Aliassime, No. 7 Daniil Medvedev, No. 8 Andrey Rublev, No. 9 Taylor Fritz and No. 10 Hubert Hurkacz.

Djokovic couldn’t play at the Australian Open or US Open because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19 and didn’t earn any rankings boost for his title at Wimbledon because the WTA and ATP stripped that tournament of any points over the All England Club‘s ban on players from Russia and Belarus.

Carlos Alcaraz Becomes Youngest Male Player to Reach U.S. Open Quarterfinals in Nearly 60 Years

Carlos Alcaraz has earned a place in US Open history…

The 18-year-old Spanish player beat 141st-ranked qualifier Peter Gojowczyk of Germany 5-7, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 6-0 to reach the final eight at Flushing Meadows.

Carlos Alcaraz

In the process, Alcaraz has become the youngest man to reach the quarterfinals of the US Open since 1963.

Alcaraz will now face No. 12 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, a 21-year-old from Canada who reached his second straight major quarterfinal by defeating Frances Tiafoe 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (6), 6-4 with the help of 24 aces.

“At some point, age is just a number,” Auger-Aliassime when asked about Alcaraz. “He already feels like a player that is established.”

The 55th-ranked Alcaraz got past No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas in his previous match and is the youngest player with two five-set Grand Slam wins in a row since Michael Chang was 16 at the 1988 U.S. Open.

Auger-Aliassime had never reached the final eight at any Grand Slam tournament until Wimbledon in July, a month before he turned 21 on August 8. Now the Canadian is the youngest man to reach consecutive major quarterfinals since Juan Martin del Potro made it to three straight in 2008-09.

Rafael Nadal to Make Debut at Citi Open in Washington, D.C.

Rafael Nadal is gearing up for hard-court season…

The 35-year-old Spanish tennis star will return to competition later this month by making his debut at the Citi Open in Washington.

Rafael Nadal

Organizers of the hard-court tournament have announced that the 20-time Grand Slam champion is in the field for the July 31 to August 8 event that serves as a US Open tuneup.

Nadal has not played since his loss to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of the French Open last month.

He decided to sit out Wimbledon, which ends Sunday, and the Tokyo Olympics, which open July 23, saying his body needed time to rest and recover after the clay-court season.

Other players entered in the Citi Open include Wimbledon semifinalists Denis Shapovalov and Hubert Hurkacz, who beat Roger Federer on Wednesday.

Wimbledon quarterfinalists Felix Auger-Aliassime and Karen Khachanov also are entered.

The tournament says Rock Creek Park Tennis Center will be allowed to have spectators at 50% of capacity. Last year’s Citi Open was canceled because of the pandemic.

Rafael Nadal’s ATP Cup Mural Unveiled in Perth

Rafael Nadal’s face has found a special home Down Under

The 33-year-old Spanish tennis star, currently ranked No. 1 in the world, is one of the players being honored with a special mural in Perth, Australia.

Rafael Nadal Mural

The inaugural ATP Cupis set to take place between January 3-12 in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, bringing together some of the world’s leading players in both singles and doubles from 24 countries. 

Weeks before the start of the action, Nodal got his mural in Perth together with Kei Nishikori and other stars, with the organizers welcoming the 19-time Grand Slam champion.

Nadal is among those who’ll fight for the crown together with his teammates, fresh after conquering the first edition of the Davis Cup Finalsin Madrid.

Spain is the favorite to reach the quarters from Group B, battling against Japan, Uruguay and Georgia at RAC Arena in Perth and hoping to continue the competition in Sydney where eight strongest teams continue the quest for the title in the second stage of the event.

Backed by Roberto Bautista AugtPablo Carreno BustaAlbert Ramos-Vinolas and Feliciano Lopez, Nadal is eager to lead Spain towards another team competition crown, shining in front of the home fans in Madrid with eight victories from as many rubbers and delivering the sixth Davis Cup title for Spain.

In what was a wild race towards the finish line, Nadal and Djokovic fought for the year-end no. 1 spot for almost the entire season, with the Spaniard making the deciding move in Montreal and the US Open and keeping the lead in the ATP Raceuntil the ATP Finalswhere they both lost in the round-robin stage.

Rafa and Novak will continue their rivalry at the ATP Cup, joined by Gael MonfilsKei NishikoriDavid GoffinAndy Murray, Grigor DimitrovAlexander ZverevDenis ShapovalovFelix Auger-AliassimeNick KyrgiosAlex de MinaurDaniil MedvedevKaren KhachanovJohn IsnerMatteo BerrettiniFabio FogniniDominic Thiem, Diego Schwartzmanand others.

Rafael Nadal Leads Spain to Davis Cup Title Over Canada

Rafael Nadalhas helped Spain win big…

The 33-year-old Spanish tennis star, ranked No. 1 in the world, risked injury by playing eight matches — five singles, three doubles — in six days at the Davis Cup Finals, the new World Cup of tennis.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal won all of them, leading Spain to its sixth Davis Cup title after a 2-0 win over first-time finalist Canada on Sunday.

But in Nadal’s view, the only hero for Spain was grieving teammate Roberto Bautista Agut. He sent Spain on its way to victory by winning the first singles match on Sunday, three days after the death of his father.

“I’ve won the eight matches but the person who was vital in this Davis Cup was Roberto,” Nadal said. “For me, what he did was something almost inhuman. I don’t know how to explain it. It will be an example for the rest of my life. He had to leave, then his dad died, then he came back and practiced with us yesterday, and today he was ready again to play at a very high level. It was something incredible.”

Spain Davis Cup

Before Nadal defeated Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 7-6 (7) to clinch the title — Spain’s first since also winning at home in 2011 — Bautista Agut had given Spain a 1-0 lead by beating Felix Auger-Aliassime7-6 (3), 6-3.

Bautista Agut pointed his finger to the sky after winning the final point in his match, and was in tears while speaking briefly to the crowd, which chanted his name. And he was the Spanish player lifting the cup in the title celebrations.

Bautista Agut’s father died on Thursday — a day after his son had defeated Nikola Mektic of Croatia — with his health deteriorating quickly after an illness that stemmed from a 2016 accident.

Bautista Agut, No. 9 in the world, played as teammates Pablo Carreno Busta and Marcel Granollers nursed injuries entering the final.

As for Nadal, he considered himself lucky to be able to play all matches.

“It’s true that I held up, but we know that playing so many matches in this [hard-court] surface is risky for me, something can happen at any time,” Nadal said. “That’s how it’s been in the past, but luckily I held up.”

Spain’s Granollers and Feliciano Lopezhad been scheduled to face Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisilin the now-canceled doubles match, although Nadal was likely to play if the title had been at stake. Nadal played in the decisive doubles on Friday and Saturday.

Voted the tournament’s best player, Nadal sealed the title with his 29th straight Davis Cup singles win, igniting the home crowd’s celebrations.

Tournament organizer and Barcelona soccer star Gerard Pique, his wife Shakira — who performed in the closing ceremony — and Spanish King Felipe VI were among those celebrating Spain’s triumph.

Spain’s other Davis Cup titles were in 2000, ’04, ’08, ’09 and ’11.

The new Davis Cup Finals is the result of a 25-year partnership between the International Tennis Federation and the Kosmos group co-founded by Pique.