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.”

Alex de Minaur Defeats Grigor Dimitrov to Advance to Rotterdam Open Final

Alex de Minaur is headed to the Rotterdam Open final.

The 25-year-old Uruguayan & Spanish Australian tennis player notched an emphatic revenge win over Grigor Dimitrov to earn the perfect 25th birthday present.

Alex de MinaurAt the same event on de Minaur’s birthday in 2023, Dimitrov proved a veritable party pooper by knocking out the Australian No 1 in the quarterfinals.

But the ‘Demon’ avenged that narrow defeat emphatically in the Rotterdam Ahoy arena in Saturday’s (Sunday AEDT) semifinal with a 6-4 6-3 win that has set up a final showdown against Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner.

Back in tournament action for the first time since his Melbourne Park triumph, top seed and world No.4 Sinner downed home favorite Tallon Griekspoor 6-2 6-4 in the later semifinal.

de Minaur’s win has ensured he will rise to a career-high No 9 in the world rankings next week from his current position of 11.

He had already avenged his painful Australian Open last-16 defeat by downing Andrey Rublev 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-3 in the quarterfinals on Friday.

“I’m extremely happy with the level throughout the whole match,” a delighted de Minaur said after beating Dimitrov.

“It was probably one of the better matches I’ve played from start to finish. Even saying that, I always know that Grigor is going to lift his level and compete until the end, and I had to fight off some pretty tough break points, when I came up with some of my best tennis.”

de Minaur crashed 14 winners and made just four unforced errors in his impressive 84-minute march.

“From the word go here in Rotterdam, I’ve felt a very calm presence. I’ve felt positive, I’ve been calm and collected throughout whole matches, and I think that’s been a big key for me,” added de Minaur, who is also competing in his first tournament since the Australian Open.

The Sydneysider puts his improved form down to a stronger mentality that’s beginning to harden him in matches against the very best players, a steely streak that the last Aussie to win in Rotterdam 20 years ago, Lleyton Hewitt, also had.

It’s no coincidence that de Minaur has been working so closely of late with his Davis Cup captain Hewitt, and he explained after the Dimitrov win: “This is my standard now, this is what I’ve got to bring every single time I walk on the court.

“I think I made a big step in the right direction, showing the type of tennis I can play, week in, week out. I think I’ve raised the bar a little bit and hopefully there’s plenty more to go.”

But Sinner is the acid test for him. If any player could give the Australian an inferiority complex, it’s his 22-year-old Italian foe, who’s won all six of their matches and lost just one set since they first dueled in the ATP NextGen finals in 2019.

Roberto Carballes Baena Defeats Daniel Evans to Advance to Grand Prix Hassan II Final

Roberto Carballes Baena continues his upsetting ways…

For the third time this week at the Grand Prix Hassan II, the 30-year-old Spanish tennis player has defeated a seeded opponent in Marrakech.

Roberto Carballes BaenaOn Saturday, Carballes Baena came from behind to upset second seed Daniel Evans 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 and advance to his second tour-level final.

Carballes Baena, who won his only previous title match in Quito in 2018, picked up his first win against a Top 35 opponent this season in what was his first tour-level semifinal since he reached the last four in Bastad in 2021.

“I don’t know why, but all the time that I come here I think I play my best tennis,” said Carballes Baena, who improved to 10-3 in Marrakech, with a previous semifinal run in 2014 as a qualifier and a quarter-final run last season. “I won my first Challenger also here [in Morocco]. I feel very good and I will try to do a good match tomorrow.”

Carballes Baena used a five-game flurry to turn the match around from 3-4 in the second set. He had not broken serve since the opening game of the match, but he did so in consecutive return games to win the second set and take a 2-0 lead in the decider.

As his relentless baseline game continued to reap rewards, Carballes Baena’s third break of the match gave him a 4-1 lead, and he consolidated his advantage by saving a break point in the ensuing service game.

After knocking of fifth seed Maxime Cressy in the first round and fourth seed Tallon Griekspoor in the quarters, both in three sets, Carballes Baena will meet an unseeded opponent in Sunday’s final: Alexandre Muller.

“I will try to see the match now a little bit,” the Spaniard said. “They are playing very well so for sure it will be a very tough match tomorrow.”