Roland Garros

Alcaraz will play his first Roland Garros final

The Spaniard overcomes Sinner in the semifinals

June 07, 2024

Peter Staples/ATP Tour

Carlos Alcaraz is looking for his first Roland Garros title.
By Staff

Carlos Alcaraz wants to put Paris at his feet. The Spaniard reached his first Roland Garros final this Friday, the third Grand Slam of his career, before trying to complete a feat of absolute versatility. With the Wimbledon and US Open cups in his showcase, at 21 years old, the Murcian became the youngest man ever capable of reaching finals big ones on three different surfaces, confirming his ability to dominate any corner of the calendar.

The third seed survived 2-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 against Italian Jannik Sinner, dominating a breath-holding back-and-forth clash in Paris. In one of the most anticipated matches by the fans, both engaged in a match of resistance, where the capacity for suffering was present in each blow. If physical fullness was a challenge to achieve on both sides of the net, both worked hard to reach the goal.

“One has to find enjoyment in suffering, that is the key,” Alcaraz acknowledged. “Especially here on the clay court at Roland Garros, with long points, four hours of effort, five sets,… You have to suffer, fight. I told my team that you have to enjoy suffering.”

The match pitted two players with the clay tour split in half. If Alcaraz had to give up high altitude events due to a muscle problem in his forearm, Sinner arrived in Paris with a hip problem in his wake, enough to stop a sensational start to the season in its tracks. Far from being physically held back, the impetus of youth has propelled both to the final rounds at Roland Garros. A demonstration of enthusiasm for taking the lead of the future.

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“The hardest games I have played in my career have been against Jannik. At the US Open 2022 and this one,” Alcaraz indicated, praising the performances of his rival. “That shows what a great player Jannik is. The great work he does every day, I hope I can play many more games like this against him in the future. Without a doubt, this has been one of the most demanding I have played.”

The Spaniard prevailed in a resistance match, where both suffered greatly under the spring sun. On one of the hottest days of the tournament, Sinner had to receive assistance from the physiotherapist on his legs, and he coolly handled episodes of cramps that gripped his hands. On the other side of the net, Alcaraz went through a match of intermittent intensity, where the strength of his forehand and the speed of his serve subsided, forcing the Murcian to shorten the points with his usual variety.

“In the third set I had cramps,” revealed the Spaniard, putting words to the sensations experienced in a third set of pure survival on the Philippe Chatrier court. “I learned from what I experienced last year against Djokovic in the semifinal, together with my team I understood that in those moments I had to stay calm.”

In his first Roland Garros semi-final, power accompanied Sinner’s steps. The Italian jumped into the Philippe Chatrier with absolute poise and soon scored with force. After breaking the first game on Alcaraz’s serve, Jannik built a 6-2, 2-0 lead, putting a show of character on the table. That brilliant start did not dampen Alcaraz’s spirit, ready to leave a fighting mark on the clay.

The Spaniard recomposed himself in a moment of urgency, recovering the vigor of his forehand to keep his great rival’s gaze. With the encouragement of Juan Carlos Ferrero from the bench, Alcaraz was reborn in a dog-faced match, where he managed to complete an idea that he already defended at the beginning of the tournament: if the spectacle is not possible, suffering will be the way to fight the matches.

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From that moment on, both fought a duel against the legs. Sinner caught the third moto where he struggled to run, receiving thigh massages were another blow from the repertoire. Alcaraz, who accepted a situation with no margin for error, proposed a game of shortened points, with the climbs to the net and the bottom shots as shortcuts to the stopwatch. The fourth set captured by the Spaniard was the stimulus that the stands needed to enter an unforgettable afternoon.

In a fifth race fertile for tension, Alcaraz found internal security. The Spaniard, who improved his balance to 10-1 in decisive Grand Slam sets, exhibited his strength to put on the finalist suit. With sensational points from the back of the court, including passing shots impossible on both sides of the net, Carlos gained the ground necessary to make the difference. The Murcian overcame an initial 3-0 to consume the last of the Italian’s strength, defeated in a battle between two tennis players exhausted by the effort.

After becoming Sinner’s first Grand Slam executioner this year, Alcaraz continues to write a successful 2024 season. The Spaniard, who had defeated the Italian before retaining the title at the ATP Masters 1000 in Indian Wells, added a victory of enormous importance against a direct opponent in his career.

The victory allows Alcaraz to take control (5-4) in a Lexus ATP Head2Head history that is growing at breakneck speed. The Spaniard has won in the two most recent Grand Slam duels against the Italian, adding the immense effort of Paris to the victory achieved in five sets at the US Open 2022 on the way to his first major.

After completing the best participation at Roland Garros of his career, Sinner will rise to No. 1 in the PIF ATP Rankings this Monday, becoming the first Italian to occupy the top of the ATP Tour.

Did you know…?
Carlos Alcaraz will try to become the eighth Spanish man to lift the individual title on the clay of Roland Garros. The Murcian can follow in the footsteps of his compatriots Manuel Santana (1961, 1964), Andrés Gimeno (1972), Sergi Bruguera (1993-94), Carlos Moyà (1998), Albert Costa (2002), Juan Carlos Ferrero (2003) and Rafael Nadal (2005-08, 2010-14, 2017-20, 2022).


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