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The 2024 French Open

Updated: Jun 26

The French Open was a torrent of emotions. Each moment brought another upset, another victory, and another blockbuster moment. The courts were crowded with fans, sweat pooled on the clay courts, and red dust filled the air. The trophy waited behind protective glass; beautifully polished and not yet smeared with kisses from the champion. It was all fresh with emotion. Now the stadium is empty and the dust settled. But previously the competition was alive with sorrow, fervour, excitement, remorse, shame, sympathy, desire, joy, and love. Every shocking moment leading up to the French final has been captured for you here.

Teenage star Mirra Andreeva delivered a marvelous performance against the ailing Aryna Sabalenka, sending her to the semi-finals. Sabalenka was seen by medical staff throughout the match as she was pointing to her stomach wincing with pain. Despite her ailments, she continued the match, fighting her discomfort. Andreeva demonstrated her strength, control, and prowess over Sabalenka with a 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-4 victory.

Iga Świątek proved once again that Roland-Garros is her house after advancing to the finals for the fourth time in a row as the defending champion. While she hasn't reached the success levels of Rafael Nadal, she is creating quite a name for herself at the French Open. To advance to the final she defeated Coco Gauff, who received some consultation in knowing she would be the second world tennis professional. Gauff was overcome with emotions over a distressing call made by the line judge during the second set which supposedly caused Gauff to miss her return. Overwhelmed and frustrated, Gauff returned to the court losing 6-2 6-4 to the top seed Iga Świątek. Gauff has struggled against Świątek, who is a master on clay courts, losing 11 out of 12 showdowns in her career.

Jasmine Paolini has stunned the world with her milestone advancement to the final. She beat the fourth-seeded Elena Rybakina in the quarter-final having never defeated a top-5 player in the Grand Slams before. Previously, she had never even appeared beyond the second round in her five appearances at the Roland-Garros. She approached the finals after stringing together many phenomenal performances, playing each match as if it were the match of her life. Despite the outcome of the final, she has given us the performance of a lifetime.

In the men’s competition, Alex de Minuar had a more than thrilling run in the French Open which was wistfully ended by Alexander Zverev who returned to the semi-finals with a 6-3 win. De Minaur has put together many successful rounds of tennis this season, breaking into the top 10 on occasion. His performances have been more forceful with bursts of attacks on his opponents. De Minuar entered the clay courts of Court Philippe-Chatrier with many challenges facing him, amidst previous upsets and complications playing on clay surfaces, he is also playing an opposition whom he has struggled with in the past. Despite these challenges, De Minuar burst onto the scene giving it everything he had, which fell short. That day he left his hopes of a deeper run into the semi-finals on the dusty clay courts. He can enter the grass season, a usually more productive stage for him, with his head held high.

Probably the biggest upset of the competition came when defending champion Novak Djokovic announced his withdrawal from the quarter-final with a right knee injury, advancing Casper Ruud. This was a devastating blow to the tennis champion who had high hopes for the Paris Olympics and All England Club championships, as his recovery timeline remains unclear. He will also drop back to second place in men’s world tennis rankings, replaced by Italian tennis professional Jannik Sinner. Djokovic complained that the clay courts of Court Philippe Chartier caused his knee irritation during his fourth-round win against Francisco Cerúndolo. This also temporarily delayed his chances for a record-breaking 25th grand slam victory. It is a devastating series of losses for Djokovic at this season's French Open.

Rafael Nadal, an expert of the French Open, who has been a dominating figure in the competition for years, saw a quick end this year. The Spanish hero was booted from the Open by Alexander Zverev, in potentially his last French Open appearance. However, Spain quickly turned its hope, after the loss, to the young star Carlos Alcaraz who at 21 years old has been earning admiration from his peers. Perhaps an unassuming competitor,he has quickly caught the attention of the French Open crowd, becoming a fan favourite.

These upsets and challenges have made the champions in the men’s and women’s singles, two thrilling competitors, Iga Swiatek and Carlos Alcaraz. Iga Swiatek takes her third consecutive victory, defeating Jasmine Paolini and holding onto her number one spot. Carlos Alcaraz dazzled the group by sweeping past Alexander Zverev to claim his victory. At just 21 years old, this win makes him the youngest man to win Grand Slam finals on all three surfaces. Alexander Zverev proved to be a challenging opponent as he battled for his first grand slam title, but his wait for a major victory continues on at 27 years old. The two French Open champions were overcome with the emotions of their battle and final victory shedding tears before lifting the sparkling trophy. The French Open was as dazzling as it was shocking, bringing about some of the most memorable moments in the tennis world.

Image from Wikimedia Commons

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