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Carlos Alcaraz Edges Jannik Sinner in Thrilling Five-Set Battle to Reach French Open Final

Carlos Alcaraz Edges Jannik Sinner in Thrilling Five-Set Battle to Reach French Open Final

Carlos Alcaraz recovered from a challenging start to defeat Jannik Sinner 2-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, advancing to his first French Open final after an intense, see-saw encounter on Friday.

The third seed initially struggled but capitalized on Sinner’s cramping to level the match and eventually win in a decider. Australian Open champion Sinner, poised to become world No. 1, fell when he returned a massive forehand wide on the third match point. The four-hour, nine-minute contest on Court Philippe-Chatrier saw the 21-year-old Spaniard become the youngest player to reach Grand Slam finals on all three surfaces: hard-court, grass, and now clay.

This year, without Rafael Nadal, the French Open will see its first final since 2004 without Nadal, Novak Djokovic, or Roger Federer. Alcaraz, who has won both his previous Grand Slam finals at the US Open and Wimbledon, remarked, “You have to find the joy in suffering, especially on clay in Roland Garros. Long rallies, four-hour matches, five sets—you have to suffer. But you have to enjoy suffering.”

Reflecting on his match, Alcaraz noted, “The toughest matches I’ve played have been against Jannik. US Open, this one, and I hope to play many more matches like this against him—it was one of the toughest matches for sure.”

The drama intensified at 2-2 in the third set when Sinner began showing signs of cramping. Alcaraz, recalling his own struggle with cramps against Djokovic the previous year, said, “I saw him struggling a little bit. You have to fight because the cramp will go away.”

Sinner managed to hold his serve after receiving treatment but eventually missed crucial shots, giving Alcaraz the opportunity to level the sets. In the decider, Alcaraz broke for a 2-0 lead and maintained his composure to clinch the match on the third match point, raising his arms in triumph.

For Sinner, it was his first defeat in 13 Grand Slam matches since winning the Australian Open. He admitted it would be hard to watch the final, saying, “It’s always tough to watch, especially when you’re in the semis. It hurts because you know you could be there.”

Alcaraz will face Alexander Zverev in the final after the German defeated two-time runner-up Casper Ruud 2-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2. Competing in his fourth straight Roland Garros semi-final, Zverev finally broke through, becoming the second German man to reach the title clash in the Open Era, matching Michael Stich’s feat from 1996.

“I am extremely happy,” Zverev said. “I have so much history on this court—some of the best and worst memories. I am so happy to be in the final finally on my fourth semi-final. I am going to give it my all on Sunday.”

Zverev started slowly as Ruud took the first set but soon found his range, leveling the match and then pulling away. Despite a stomach issue, Ruud’s hopes of a third successive Paris final faded when Zverev broke in the fourth set, sealing his place in the final.

Wilander: “I’m so impressed with both guys. It wasn’t on the same level as the US Open quarter-final two years ago, but on clay, it’s too difficult to play like that. Alcaraz found the recipe to break Sinner down and showed incredible tactical stamina.”

Henman: “Resilience epitomizes both players. When things aren’t going well, they’re tough and strong, never giving up. The resilience from both players was incredible, and I hope we get to see this match-up many more times in the future.”

Credit: Sky Sports

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