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Published Time: 09.06.2024 - 14:13:17 Modified Time: 09.06.2024 - 14:13:17

Carlos Alcaraz overcame Alexander Zverev in five sets to win the 2024 French Open men's singles final. Dan Istitene/Getty ImagesAlcaraz storms to 6-2 fifth-set win to defeat ZverevWhen we started the match, the court was bathed in sunlight. By the start of the fifth -- 3 hours, 20 minutes or so later -- the shadow was cast over two-thirds of the surface. All the while the two battled it out, trading break points, winners and occasional exasperated looks at their teams. Alcaraz

Carlos Alcaraz made history by winning the 2024 French Open men's single final. Tim Goode/Getty Images

Carlos Alcaraz now becomes the youngest man to win a Grand Slam on all three surfaces. He joins Jimmy Connors, Mats Wilander, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in achieving the feat, but did it at the youngest age.

They must be used to hearing the Spanish national anthem at Roland Garros, and it got another airing with Alcaraz champion.

Alcaraz paid tribute to his team, and all the work they did to get him ready for the French Open as he was coming back from a right arm injury. "I know that everyone in my team has given everything to make me improve as a person and player. My family are here -- my mum, dad, brothers -- it's amazing having you here supporting me, but the times you are not here in real life supporting me, I know you are supporting me at home. It's amazing. All those times after school, I used to run home to put the tournament on on TV and now I'm lifting this trophy in front of you."

Carlos Alcaraz overcame Alexander Zverev in five sets to win the 2024 French Open men's singles final. Dan Istitene/Getty Images

When we started the match, the court was bathed in sunlight. By the start of the fifth -- 3 hours, 20 minutes or so later -- the shadow was cast over two-thirds of the surface. All the while the two battled it out, trading break points, winners and occasional exasperated looks at their teams.

After a nervy start, Alcaraz broke Zverev in the third game. Zverev tried to serve-volley, but he put a volley wide, and then one in the net. A double fault then gave Alcaraz three break points, and he converted the second.

Alcaraz needed more running repairs on the changeover from the physio and he started the fourth game slowly, with two poor shots putting him at 0-30, and then having constructed the third point brilliantly, he missed a forehand with an open court to give Zverev three break points. But Alcaraz rallied. Zverev was furious with a call at 15-40 on Alcaraz's second serve -- Zverev feeling the ball was out, only for the umpire to rule the ball in -- and Alcaraz managed to save all three break points. Then came arguably the point of the match, as Alcaraz scrambled to save three overheads, only for the fourth to just escape him. Zverev had another break point (his conversion rate at the time was 6-for-22). Alcaraz saved another, and then took advantage with a brilliant backhand down the line. And as Alcaraz dropped the deftest of winners, having saved four break points, Philippe-Chatrier came alive.

Zverev got himself into a good position in the next game, only for Alcaraz to stay on his heels, and then thread the eye of the needle down the line to take break point. But Zverev was resolute, managing to swing the game back in his favour thanks to two brilliant backhand crosscourt winners.

The temperature was plummeting on Chatrier. Fans were using their flags to cover bare knees. Supporters in the corporate areas were being given blankets. And all the while the two on court were trying to force the balance of the match back into their favour. Zverev forced a break point, but brave play from Alcaraz canceled it out as he serve-volleyed to take the game back to deuce. Zverev was left aggrieved by another marginal call and Alcaraz held.

With Zverev looking to regain some control over the match, Alcaraz pulled out a shot for the ages to flick a backhand crosscourt winner past Zverev. The whole court stood up as one to herald it. He secured the double break, to put him one game away from securing the French Open title.

There's always this nervous hubbub awaiting match point. Alcaraz took complete control of the eighth game against a visibly downcast Zverev to give him two match points. And he needed only one as he completed his trio of Grand Slams with the French Open sitting alongside his 2022 US Open title and 2023 Wimbledon crown.

Carlos Alcaraz ensured the 2024 French Open men's singles final would go to a fifth set. Antonio Borga/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

With Zverev one set away from winning his first Grand Slam title, Alcaraz was going to make him work for it. The conditions were a little heavier in the fourth set, the sun less blinding than before, and Alcaraz came out quickly. He broke Zverev in the second game -- two box-office shots included, one backhand lob winner, and then an outstanding forehand down the line to go 2-0 up.

Alcaraz then held to love, and continued to befuddle Zverev as he stood deep and counterattacked anything and everything Zverev threw at him. And with the most delightful dropshot, Alcaraz raced to a 4-0 lead.

Zverev broke back, but Alcaraz needed treatment at the next changeover. He took a medical timeout, with his left leg getting the attention. But he showed few signs of it harming his game, as he broke back Zverev immediately to lead 5-1.

Alcaraz made hard work of it in the final game, but he finally took his chance to take the fourth 6-1. The physio is back again for Alcaraz.

Alexander Zverev has taken the lead against Carlos Alcaraz in the 2024 French Open men's singles final. Daniel Kopatsch/Getty Images

If golf has its moving day on the Saturday of a major, that could yet be the third set here. It was a nervy, topsy-turvy affair, with the momentum shifting in the blink of an eye.

Alcaraz snapped a five-game losing streak as he held serve at the start of the third, but Zverev's first serve was again proving difficult for Alcaraz to get a handle on, with Zverev holding to love in the second game.

Alcaraz's serve was still a little off; he double-faulted at the start of the third game (his fifth of the match so far), but despite that, it was looking like he'd found his rhythm back, holding serve with a couple of shouts of "Vamos!" to herald the moment. But Zverev made short work of the next service game, finding them increasingly straightforward.

The fifth game could have been the turning point in the match for Alcaraz -- he managed to construct two beautiful points, hitting a backhand winner down the line, and then catching Zverev out with a drop-shot. The match was resembling chess: both players testing each other out, Zverev yet to make an unforced error in this set, with Alcaraz holding serve.

Alcaraz then forced triple break point on Zverev's serve, and snaffled it up at the first ask, leaving Zverev yelling at his box. But with the 4-2 lead, Alcaraz's first serve was getting himself in all sorts of trouble, and he had to save three break points -- again using his drop shot brilliantly -- to hold serve as Zverev built momentum.

At 5-3 up, Alcaraz had the chance to serve out the set, but Zverev somehow broke back. Zverev converted break point with advantage, as Alcaraz was caught near the net, and slipped as he tried to return a forehand, leaving things evenly poised once again.

Alcaraz's forehand was increasingly erratic, the ball bouncing awkwardly on the baseline, as he framed two shots in the 11th game, giving Zverev two break points. He duly took the first on offer to now give him the chance to serve out. Alcaraz was clearly frustrated at the changeover, saying there's not enough clay on the court, calling it "unbelievable."

It was Zverev's turn to serve out the set, and he gave himself set point at 40-30. But after a tense rally, it was Alcaraz who managed to force the error. Alcaraz then forced break point with a brilliant forehand down the line, but Zverev saved that and a brilliant overhead gave him set point No. 2, which he duly took with the match at 2 hours, 40 minutes.

Alexander Zverev won the second set against Carlos Alcaraz to leave the 2024 French Open men's single final finely poised. Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Some more celeb spotting to kick off the start of the second set: Movie stars Clive Owen and Sophie Marceau are both here, as are France rugby duo Antoine Dupont and Anthony Jelonch. There's also Henri, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, in attendance.

Back on the court, Zverev was looking increasingly exasperated at the start of the second set, at one point threatening to test out the durability of the clay with his racquet. But having missed three break points at the start of the second set on Alcaraz's serve, Zverev must have been left wondering exactly what he could do to get a foothold back in the match. All the while, Alcaraz was varying his shot selection, disguising beautiful drop shots, and then unleashing his booming crosscourt forehands or backhand winners down the line. Zverev and Alcaraz both held serve, leaving Zverev shouting at his box for answers.

But then came the potential momentum shift as Zverev broke Alcaraz's serve to go 3-2 up in the second set. The wind was picking up, swirling around Philippe-Chatrier. Having forced two break points, Zverev took the second, with an uncharacteristic, wild forehand from Alcaraz handing him the game. Zverev then held on his own serve -- including a penultimate point including some wonderfully intricate play at the net -- to hold a 4-2 lead.

Zverev's forehand was becoming increasingly lethal, booming one down the line and then another crosscourt winner to force yet another break point in the seventh game. Alcaraz managed to cancel out that threat, but Zverev was back on his case, drawing another break point and an uncharacteristic double fault gave Zverev a double break.

And Zverev served out the set with ease, winning 6-2. The French Open is neatly poised at one set apiece.

Carlos Alcaraz in action during Sunday's men's singles final at Roland Garros. Tim Goode/Getty Images

Just like yesterday's women's singles final, there was more interpretive dance to tee up the proceedings. Must be a nightmare for the ground staff who have just swept the court and produced an immaculate surface, only for a group of dancers to scuff things up.

But there was a spectacular flyover, with eight Patroille de France jets painting the sky the colours of the French tricolore. Blue, white and red smoke hung over Court Philippe-Chatrier as the players came out.

With Bjorn Borg and International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach in the front row of the presidents' box, it was Zverev who served first. But after back-to-back double faults, he changed his racquet - just two points into the entire match. It was not enough to save his serve, with Alcaraz breaking in the first game of the final.

Any early joy proved to be short-lived, with Zverev breaking back in the next game, Alcaraz's serve also a little off. But after two holds, it was Alcaraz who took control, punishing Zverev's errors to break serve and take a 3-2 lead. Alcaraz held comfortably in the next game and then drew two more break points. It looked like Zverev was caught between two minds - whether to attack Alcaraz, or to try and draw an error, but it was some scrambling defence which clawed the game back to deuce.

Zverev held, but he was struggling to get near Alcaraz on his serve. Alcaraz's drop-shots were causing Zverev all sorts of trouble as Alcaraz moved himself to one game from taking the first set. And Alcaraz didn't waste any time, varying his shots, bamboozling Zverev, to break serve in the next game and take the first set 6-3.

Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev pose ahead of the men's singles final at Roland Garros. Dan Istitene/Getty Images

Alcaraz has already won the US Open and Wimbledon, so victory on Sunday would complete a trio of Slams on each surface. For Zverev, this is his second Grand Slam final, having lost the US Open final to Dominic Thiem in 2020.

For so long this trophy was in Rafael Nadal's grip -- the Spaniard winning the Coupe des Mousquetaires trophy 14 times. Novak Djokovic has won it three times here, with Roger Federer taking it in 2009. But there's a new generation coming through and for so long, Alcaraz has been the coming man on clay.

He reached the quarterfinal here in 2022 -- losing to Zverev -- and then the semifinal last year, where he fell to Djokovic. Last year his performance was hampered by severe cramping, but that's something he's learned to manage. He came into the French Open with concerns over his right arm, an injury that saw him miss some of the clay court swing. In the opening rounds, by his own admission, he couldn't go 100% on his forehand, but as the rounds have tumbled, Alcaraz's durability has improved.