Europe 1 with AFP / Photo credit: JULIAN FINNEY / GETTY IMAGES EUROPE / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP 22:08 p.m., June 09, 2023This Friday, Casper Ruud, world number 4, dominated the German Alexander Zverev, the former world number 2, in the semi-final of Roland-Garros (6-3, 6-4, 6-0). With his victory, the Norwegian joins Novak Djokovic in the final. In this meeting, the Serb will go for a 23rd Grand Slam title, a record.
Norway's Casper Ruud, world number 4, qualified for his second consecutive final at Roland-Garros at the expense of Germany's Alexander Zverev, former world number 2 now 27th, dominated 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 in 2h09 min Friday. In Sunday's final, Casper Ruud will challenge Novak Djokovic, who will be looking to become the first man to win a 23rd Grand Slam title. The 36-year-old Serbian emerged 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 in the clash with world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz, who was beset by cramps in the third set, earlier in the day.
Third Grand Slam final
At 24, the Norwegian will play his third Grand Slam final, the third in a year after those of Roland-Garros and the US Open in 2022, lost respectively to Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz. A year ago, Casper Ruud was outclassed 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 by Nadal. "I didn't come thinking I was the favorite to go to the final, not at all," admitted the Scandinavian player, who had a very average first half of the season before Roland-Garros.
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There was, however, some improvement on clay, with a title in Estoril in April and a semi-final at the Masters 1000 in Rome just before the Paris Grand Slam. "That's it, two weeks later, I'm back in the final. I hope the third one will be the right one!" added Ruud. "Last year it was Rafa, this time it's Novak... I won't be the favourite, so I'll try to play without too many emotions, enjoy it, smile as much as I can, I know it will be difficult.
Alexander Zverev weakened?
Alexander Zverev was experiencing a renaissance at Roland Garros, a year after seriously injuring his right ankle in the semifinal against Nadal. But the 26-year-old German, who started the match with a heavy bandage around his left thigh on Friday night, never really seemed able to threaten his Norwegian opponent. He even completely collapsed in the third set, like his series of missed smashes, sent into the net or out of bounds of the court.
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In total, Alexander Zverev, as if exhausted, recorded 37 direct faults in three sets, against 31 winning points. Ruud's record is positive (25 winning shots against 13 direct faults). Alexander Zverev was playing in his sixth Grand Slam semifinal, but he has only made it once, at the US Open in 2020. He then lost in the final to Dominic Thiem.