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French Open: Alcaraz win means Zverev still waits

June 9, 2024

Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz has won a third grand slam, after beating Germany’s Alexander Zverev 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 at the French Open on Sunday. The defeat means Zverev’s quest for a first grand slam title goes on.

Carlos Alcaraz raises his arms in the air and smiles
Carlos Alcaraz is all set to be the next superstar of tennisImage: TERESA SUAREZ/EPA

Carlos Alcaraz, 21, confirmed his status as the new power in tennis, adding the 2024 French Open to his Wimbledon and US Open titles. The young Spaniard looked in trouble midway through the match but found some stunning form in the final two sets to leave Germany's Alexander Zverev devastated.

Zverev, the world number four, had reached the semifinals in Paris for the last three consecutive years before finally reaching the final, only to fall short again. The German player's only major honor remains the gold medal he won at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

"We were close today, but just not enough," Zverev said to his coaching team postmatch after praising his "incredible" opponent. "But hopefully one day we’ll be able to hold this trophy.

While things ran smoothly on the court until Sunday's final, away from the clay things were not so straightforward. Hours before his semifinal win over Casper Ruud on Friday, Zverev reached an out-of-court settlement with his ex-girlfriend in an assault case, with no admission of guilt from his side, ending legal proceedings that attracted plenty of publicity.

Alcaraz steps up when it counts

The 27-year-old became frustrated by questions about the case after beating Ruud. "We move on. I never, ever want to hear another question about the subject again. That goes out to everybody," he said in a press conference.

With Rafael Nadal, the most successful player in French Open history, in the twilight of his career and Novak Djokovic withdrawing with injury midway through the tournament, this year's French Open seemed as good a chance as Zverev would get to win his first slam.

But, ultimately, Alcaraz won the big moments, with a sensational display of power and touch. He has a long way to go to match Nadal's 14 titles in Paris, but such a feat does not look entirely beyond the new French Open champion.