History-maker Carlos Alcaraz beats Alexander Zverev in epic French Open final

Carlos Alcaraz made history and gained a measure of Spanish revenge by beating Alexander Zverev in five sets to win a first French Open title

The 21-year-old filled a Rafael Nadal-sized void at Roland Garros with a marathon 6-3 2-6 5-7 6-1 6-2 victory in four hours and 19 minutes.

Fourth seed Zverev had sent old warrior Nadal out on his shield for probably the last time in the first round.

But young pretender Alcaraz vanquished the German to join fellow Spaniard Nadal as the only men to lift the Roland Garros trophy aged under 22.

Carlos Alcaraz fist pumps while sat on the floor as he celebrates winning the French Open
Carlos Alcaraz won a marathon final that lasted four hours and 19 minutes (Aurelien Morissard/AP)

Alcaraz is also the youngest man to win a grand-slam title on all three surfaces, adding the Paris clay to his hard-court US Open success and last year’s win on the Wimbledon grass.

He boasts a perfect record in major finals, while for Zverev it is two defeats from two following his loss to Dominic Thiem at the US Open four years ago.

“I used to watch this tournament on the TV and now I’m holding the trophy,” said an elated Alcaraz afterwards.

Alcaraz was the clear aggressor as the first set wore on and he took it in 43 minutes.

But the Zverev forehand began firing and he broke for 3-2 in the second set after Alcaraz’s mistimed return flew into the crowd.

A sizzling pass from Zverev sent a cloud of dust exploding off the court as he brought up a double break on his way to levelling the match.

Alcaraz found his range again early in the third and a superb volley brought up three break points – his first on the Zverev serve all set – and he dispatched the first to lead 4-2.

But Alcaraz was suddenly missing more often than his opponent and Zverev reeled off five games, saving a break point at 6-5, to move ahead.

But having finally got a service hold on the board and returning from so far back he was almost sitting on the lap of Bjorn Borg in the front row of the presidential box, Alcaraz broke with a vicious forehand down the line.

Alcaraz needed treatment on his left thigh but held out to take the match to a deciding set.

Alexander Zverev questions a decision with the umpire on court
Alexander Zverev was not a happy man (Thibault Camus/AP)

A tired service game from Zverev, who has spent almost 24 hours on court this fortnight, gave Alcaraz the early advantage.

‘Carlos, Carlos’ chanted the crowd on Philippe Chatrier in scenes usually only reserved for 14-time winner Nadal.

They were on their feet again when an astonishing flicked backhand cross-court winner helped secure another break.

Four minutes later the man from Murcia was lying on his back, Nadal style, celebrating a victory he has always seemed destined for.

Zverev said: “Congratulations to Carlos, he’s had an amazing career already, three grand slams, already a hall of famer at only 21. An incredible player.”