Zverev Downs Ruud; Sets Box Office Final Against Alcaraz at Roland Garros
Alexander Zverev advances to his maiden final at Roland Garros after beating Casper Ruud (not pictured). Paris, France. June 7, 2024. Photo credit: French Open/FFT.

Fourth seed Alexander Zverev dismantles two-time Roland Garros finalist Casper Ruud in four sets to reach Sunday’s championship match. He will face Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who took out Italian Jannik Sinner in a five-set battle on Friday in Paris.

Contesting his fourth consecutive French Open semifinal, world No. 4 Alexander Zverev prevailed over Barcelona Open winner Casper Ruud 2-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 after two hours and 35 minutes, punching his ticket to a maiden clay-court major final, his second at a Slam.

In his on-court interview, he shared: “I am extremely happy. I have so much history on this court and had some of the best memories and worst memories on this court.

I am so happy to be in the final finally, on my fourth semi-final. I am going to give it my all on Sunday.”

On Friday evening, he became the second German man to reach the Roland Garros final in the Open Era, joining Michael Stich (1996).

In contention for the crown, the world No. 3 Carlos Alcaraz, the youngest player to reach a Grand Slam final on all three surfaces, will meet Zverev on Sunday following his five-set victory over soon-to-be world No. 1 Jannik Sinner.

Within 10 minutes into the first set, the agile Norwegian converted an early break to love - Zverev double-faulted - to open a 2-0 advantage over his opponent, which he quickly extended to 3-0, firing an explosive forehand winner.

The German timing seemed off, making a slow start to his fourth semifinal on the terre battue on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Meanwhile, Ruud, the Tour leader in wins (39), continued playing aggressively, adjusting slice and height when it mattered most.

The two-time Roland-Garros runner-up broke twice to seal a dominant display in the eighth game, 6-2 in 35 minutes, mastering his all-court coverage.

But Zverev reacted fast, kicking up a level into the second set; rock-solid behind his serve, he opened proceedings with a break and held to love to come out on top 2-0.

Then, they rallied across a lengthy third game with Ruud, 25, saving a break point to hold his ground.

As his rival stood too deep in his return position, the world No. 7 went forward, delivering an exquisite drop shot, taking the Italian Open champion by surprise.

However, the Hamburg native, light on his feet, adjusted his game, hitting the ball cleanly off both wings, earning a double break when he struck a backhand winner down the line to stay the course at 4-1.

Both contenders went with serves until Zverev fired his sixth ace in the encounter, closing out 6-2 in 39 minutes.

Sharp with his shot-making, the 22-time ATP titlist committed just four unforced errors to 10 from Ruud.

Extended baseline exchanges set the tone of the first three games of the third set, with the 2022 U.S. Open finalist leading 2-1.

During the TV break, Norway’s top racquet asked for the trainer due to a stomach ache, for which he quickly took some medicine before play resumed.

From there, the 27-year-old became the better player on the court, breaking with a crosscourt forehand to inch ahead 3-2.

Ruud, who received a walkover from top seed Novak Djokovic, advancing to his third straight semifinal in Paris, continued to show signs of feeling unwell, playing short and making the most of his net game to attempt a late challenge.

Nonetheless, his efforts would not be enough to hold off his rival, though he stayed close in the score at 4-5.

Zverev served out for the set, striking three aces and two double faults, fending off a break point before wrapping up 6-4 to consolidate two sets to one lead.

The fourth seed broke to start a fourth set in which Ruud put up a grit battle, digging deep to find an edge, mentally focussed on the game despite the physical discomfort.

However, a crucial break in the seventh game saw the former world No. 2 earning the set 6-2 and the match.

He hit 54 winners to 24 unforced errors, converted five of 12 break points, and won 86 percent of the points on his first serve.

Cecilia demartini
Sports Pundit staff writer @ceci_2812
Cecilia is a writer and journalist, passionate about motorsport and tennis.Her articles are published in newspapers and international online publications.

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