Spain's Carlos Alcaraz celebrates after winning the French Open semi-final against Italy's Jannik Sinner. Image Credit: AFP

Paris: Carlos Alcaraz outlasted Jannik Sinner in an engrossing five-set battle on Friday to reach his first French Open final, where he will face either Alexander Zverev or Casper Ruud.

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The two-time Grand Slam champion trailed 2-1 in sets to incoming world No 1 Sinner, but rallied in the Paris sunshine to win 2-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 after four hours and nine minutes on Court Philippe Chatrier.

It was another gripping chapter in the pair’s burgeoning rivalry, with Alcaraz now leading their head-to-head 5-4.

“I hope to play many, many more matches like this one against Jannik but it’s one of the toughest I’ve played for sure,” said Alcaraz.

Favourite to win title

“I’m really happy about everything I did today. I waited for my moment until I took it.”

The 21-year-old will be the favourite heading into Sunday’s final as he aims to become the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on clay, grass and hard courts.

He has won both of his two previous major finals — at Wimbledon last year and the 2022 US Open.

Italian Sinner, playing in his first Roland Garros semi-final, put up a brave fight but came up just short as he suffered only his third defeat of the season and his first at a Slam this year after winning the Australian Open.

Alcaraz was not at his best for long periods, but found his form at the right time late in the fourth set, powering to victory on the back of 65 winners.

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Sinner congratulates Alzaraz after the end of the French Open semi-finals on Friday. Image Credit: Reuters

Sinner flew out of the blocks, breaking in the first game of the match en route to a 4-0 lead.

Alcaraz started to find his rhythm, but too late to recover in the opener as Sinner took it on his third set point.

Marked drop in the game

World No 3 Alcaraz looked in trouble when he quickly fell 2-0 behind in the second set, but Sinner’s level markedly dropped as the Spaniard reeled off five straight games before levelling the match.

Sinner was starting to struggle with his serve — making eight double-faults across the second and third sets — and Alcaraz struck first with an early break in the third.

But Sinner upped his game again, breaking Alcaraz twice, either side of a crucial hold in which he saved four break points himself, before moving a set in front.

After 10 breaks across the first three sets, both players stabilised on serve in the fourth, with nine successive comfortable holds.

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Spaniard Alcaraz regained his sublime game at the right moment to quell Sinner's challenge. Image Credit: AFP

Series of sparkling shots

But Alcaraz found some magic when he needed it most as, leading the set 5-4 but 30-0 down on Sinner’s serve, he produced a series of sparkling shots and forced a decider with a backhand winner on the stretch.

The momentum was all with Alcaraz and a wonderful lob helped him bring up break point in the second game of the fifth.

The duelling duo were bringing the best out of each other, but although Sinner produced a perfect drop shot to save that break point, Alcaraz powered away a forehand shortly afterwards to secure a 2-0 advantage.

Sinner steadied the ship to keep the pressure on his opponent, but Alcaraz successfully served out for a place in the final in a tense ninth game, clinching victory on his third match point as Sinner blazed long.