Sunday, June 16, 2024

Alcaraz set for maiden French Open title

by malinga
June 9, 2024 1:05 am 0 comment 463 views

Carlos Alcaraz

Carlos Alcaraz moved a step closer to a maiden French Open title by beating incoming world number one Jannik Sinner in an engrossing semi-final.

Spanish third seed Alcaraz showed resilience to twice fight back from behind in a 2-6 6-3 3-6 6-4 6-3 win.

Alcaraz missed two match points – hitting the net after a baseline duel and then lamping a forehand long – before taking his third opportunity.

He will face German fourth seed Alexander Zverev in Sunday’s men’s final.

Italian second seed Sinner, who struggled with cramps in the third set, was bidding for back-to-back major titles after winning the Australian Open in January.

But Alcaraz came through after growing stronger as the match wore on.

“You have to find the joy in suffering, that’s the key,” Alcaraz said.

“Even more here on clay – long rallies, four-hour matches, five sets, you have to fight. But you have to enjoy suffering.”

The 21-year-old is now just one win from completing three legs of a career Grand Slam, having already triumphed at the 2022 US Open and last year’s Wimbledon.

Zverev, 27, won 2-6 6-2 6-4 6-2 against Norwegian seventh seed Casper Ruud in the second semi-final later on Friday.

Zverev played just hours after a trial in Berlin over domestic abuse allegations made by his former girlfriend was discontinued.

The emerging rivalry between Sinner and Alcaraz is one that many in tennis believe can fill the void left by the ageing superstars.

Few will forget their epic US Open quarter-final in 2022, which finished at 2:50am in New York and featured some jaw-dropping exchanges.

This was a different type of contest. Neither player found their best level consistently – and rarely at the same time.

But the match developed into an absorbing encounter where, at times, each man relied on heart as much as their head.

“It was one of the toughest matches I’ve played, for sure,” said Alcaraz.

Sinner, 22, made what could be considered a perfect start, taking Alcaraz’s serve with the two break points he created and twice holding to love for a 4-0 lead.

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