French Open men's final: Carlos Alcaraz wins first Roland Garros title, defeating Alexander Zverev in 5 sets

French Open men's final: Carlos Alcaraz wins first Roland Garros title, defeating Alexander Zverev in 5 sets

You cannot stop Carlos Alcaraz on clay. You can only hope to slow him down.

Alcaraz has won his maiden French Open title, defeating Alexander Zverev 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2. He battled Zverev's blistering serve and powerful volleys, but he mainly battled himself. He played sloppy tennis at times, giving away points with double faults and missing easy shots, but overcame his own demons as well as Zverev to take home his third Grand Slam title.

After the first set, it felt like the match was Alcaraz's to win. He had bullied Zverev around the court, sending him running and exploiting his energy level; unlike Alcaraz, Zverev had spent nearly 20 hours on the court coming into the final and was not as fresh as you'd want to be.

But then in the second set Alcaraz's energy began to lag. He became wild and undisciplined, and Zverev took advantage. He finally experienced some sustained success against Alcaraz and took a 4-2 lead. Alcaraz looked like he was ready to take control again, but he couldn't find any consistency. His second double fault put Zverev up 5-2, and a quick game later it was 6-2 and Zverev had evened up the score.

The third set was a roller coaster. Alcaraz took an early 2-1 lead, then found his second wind while tied 2-2 in the third set. Zverev took a second to do what he does best (complain to the chair umpire about any perceived slight or disadvantage), and from that moment, Alcaraz was back in the game. He was cheering and jumping and smiling again. As he's told the media in the past, you have to enjoy the suffering in tennis, and that's what Alcaraz does best.

But it didn't last. Up 5-2 and just one game from taking a 2-1 lead, Alcaraz became sloppy and Zverev came roaring back. He won five straight games to win the third set 7-5. Now Alcaraz was playing from behind.

But that just gave Alcaraz a new challenge to handle. And he thrived. He rolled through the fourth set, coming close to bageling Zverev but managing to win 6-1 — even with a medical timeout to tend to his sore thigh. There were no shortcuts through this match. The only way to win was to play all five sets.

And that's just what he did. Zverev won the first game but otherwise came out very flat. Alcaraz, six years Zverev's junior, came out bouncing, and it reflected in how he played. He cut down the unforced errors, became very disciplined, and rode that all the way to victory.

He earned every bit of celebration, and he did that first with his team.

We also got to see a parental celebration, as Alcaraz's mother and father were in the stands.

With this win (and the withdrawal of Novak Djokovic), Alcaraz will move up from No. 3 in the world to No. 2. Jannik Sinner, who lost to Alcaraz in the semifinals, will move up from No. 2 to No. 1. Djokovic will slide from 1 down to 3, while Zverev's loss in the final will keep him steady at No. 4.

  • It's over. 21-year-old Carlos Alcaraz has won his first French Open title, and his third Grand Slam trophy overall. His legend only grows.

    Zverev 3 6 7 1 2

    Alcaraz 6 2 5 6 6

  • We're approaching knock-down, drag-out territory here, and Zverev appears to be the one getting knocked down and dragged out. He's down 4-2 in the fifth set and his energy appears to be failing big time. He's made a few comebacks in the match already, but can he made yet another one?

    Zverev 3 6 7 1 2

    Alcaraz 6 2 5 6 4

  • This is the best tennis rally you'll see in quite awhile.

  • We're playing all five sets, folks. Alcaraz put Zverev away 6-1 to win the fourth set and even the tally to two sets apiece.

    This final set will decide which first-time French Open winner we'll get.

  • Alcaraz's issue appeared to be with his left thigh, which is already bandaged. It was massaged by a trainer and a doctor gave him what looked to be pain medication. He's back on the court and appears to be moving with no issu

  • A trainer is out attending to Alcaraz, who will take a medical timeout. It doesn't appear to be cramping, as there is a doctor on the court.

  • Alcaraz did not like losing the third set. He's come out galloping like a stallion in the fourth, winning the first four games easily while Zverev looks a little winded.

    Zverev 3 6 7 0

    Alcaraz 6 2 5 4

  • Alcaraz is continuing to make unfortunate unforced errors against Zverev, and even though he's got the lead in the third set, they're costing him. He took a 5-2 lead with great energy and verve, but is now facing 5-4 after two very sloppy games.

    The next game is a must-win for Carlitos if he wants to maintain control of this match.

  • Alcaraz's energy is back. While Zverev — who never misses an opportunity to complain to the chair umpire — complained to the chair umpire about something that was bothering him, Alcaraz found his game. He's back on top AND called to his team for more pickle juice shots to stave off the dreaded cramps.

    Zverev 3 6 2

    Alcaraz 6 2 3

  • Alcaraz came out with a lot of energy in the third set, winning the first game, but he's continuing to struggle with double faults. He finally did a big Carlitos yell when he won the third game, but he's got a lot of work to do to if he wants to get past Zverev.

    Zverev 6 3 1

    Alcaraz 6 2 2

  • Zverev and Alcaraz are tied 1-1 after the second set. It feels like this is going to be a long one.

  • It's rare that anyone can match Alcaraz shot-for-shot when he's under pressure, but Zverev managed to do it.

    Alcaraz is in a dangerous position. He's down two games and Zverev has found his momentum. He's in danger of losing this set completely, and all anyone can think about is the cramps had against Novak Djokovic last year.

    Zverev 3 4

    Alcaraz 6 2

  • It hasn't been a great few games for Carlitos. A handful of unforced errors and poor shot choices allowed Zverev to get a foothold, and now he's in control in the second set.

    Zverev 3 3

    Alcaraz 6 2

  • Zverev and Alcaraz spent 10 minutes and 18 seconds litigating the first game of the second set. Alcaraz finally took it, but then Zverev managed to even it up with a gutsy performance in Game 2.

    Zverev 3 1

    Alcaraz 6 1

  • Carlos Alcaraz has won the first set 6-3 over Alexander Zverev. Alcaraz broke Zverev to end the set.

    Don't cout Zverev out yet. He had an abysmal first set against Casper Ruud in the semifinals, but roared back to take the next three sets and win the match.

    That being said, Alcaraz looks pretty locked in right now.

  • Zverev hadn't won a game since he took a 2-1 lead over Alcaraz, He was letting Alcaraz bully him around the court, but fought his way back from a 0-30 hole to prevent Alcaraz from taking a 5-2 lead.

    Alcaraz still leads 4-3 in the first set.

    There is one thing to consider when watching Zverev: He has spent nearly 20 hours on the court at Roland Garros. Alcaraz has spent far less time on the court winning his matches. Alcaraz has confidence and nothing to prove. Zverev is trying to win his very first major.

  • Zverev struggled early with double faults, but got his game back under control and actually took a one-game lead over Alcaraz — but of course Alcaraz took the lead right back.