At Roland Garros, the time has come for the decisive stages of the tournament. Under the scorching Parisian sun on Friday, June 9, the semifinal matches in the men’s singles category will be played. Second on Philippe Chatrier’s court will be German tennis player Alexander Zverev, Tokyo Olympic champion, who currently ranks only 27th in the ATP ranking, and world number four, Norwegian Kasper Ruud.
The Paris Major last year was remembered by both tennis players. Kasper reached the TBS final for the first time, where he lost to Rafael Nadal in three sets, and Alexander was forced to withdraw from the match with the King of Clay a stage early due to a serious leg injury. Then the famous German underwent surgery and in 2022 he did not return to the courts in official fights. No wonder the 26-year-old Hamburg native has lost so many positions in the men’s world rankings because of this.
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This season, both Ruud and Zverev failed to boast of any big wins before reaching their peak in the French capital. The Norwegian’s best result is the title at the ATP-250 tournament in Estoril, while on the eve of Roland Garros he reached the semifinals of the Rome Masters. Zverev approached the “Slam” on clay with the following record of wins and losses in the season: 16-14. The German with Russian roots reached the semifinals this year in only two competitions: in Dubai and Geneva.
Kasper’s path to the 2023 Roland Garros semifinals is not an easy one. He managed to get a landslide victory in both the game and on the scoreboard in only one of five meetings. This was the match of the first round with the Swede Elias Imer, where the Norwegian closed his rival in three games. Giulio Zeppieri and Zhang Zhizhen, the two-time TBSH finalist, dropped a set each, and with Nicholas Harri dragged a three-set duel into a nearly 3.5-hour bout. Even the Scandinavian quarterfinal battle with Rune lasted less (2 hours and 44 minutes).
Kasper Ruud’s path to the Roland Garros 2023 semifinals:First round. Ruud (3) – E. Ymer (155) – 6:4, 6:3, 6:2. Second round. Ruud-Zeppieri (129) – 6:3, 6:2, 4:6 7:5. Third circle. Ruud – Zhizhen (71) – 4:6, 6:4, 6:1 6:4. Fourth circle. Ruud – Harry (35) – 7:6, 7:5, 7:5. Quarter finals. Ruud – Rune (6) – 6:1, 6:2, 3:6, 6:3.
Alexander, in turn, on the way to the quarterfinals also allowed his opponents to take the set from him. If in the first two rounds Zverev closed Lloyd Harris and Alex Molchan with a score of 3-0, then in the duel with the formidable American Tiafoe everything turned out not so smoothly – the German won in four games. In the fourth round, a Hamburg native did not allow Grigor Dimitrov to take at least one set, but in the quarterfinal with Thomas Martin Etcheverry, Alexander dropped the second game, but still left the game behind.
Alexander Zverev’s path to the Roland Garros semifinals – 2023: First round. Zverev (27th ranked / 22nd seed) – Harris (294) – 7:6, 7:6, 6:1. Second round. Zverev – Molchan (86) – 6:4, 6:2, 6:1. Third circle. Zverev – Tiafoe (12/12) – 3:6, 7:6, 6:1, 7:6. Fourth circle. Zverev – Dimitrov (29/28) – 6:1, 6:4, 6:3. Quarter finals. Zverev – Etcheverry (49) – 6:4, 3:6, 6:3, 6:4.
On the eve of an important face-to-face confrontation, the representative of Norway had the following to say: “It’s good to see Zverev again in the Roland Garros semi-finals. I remember being in the locker room watching his match against Nadal last year. I thought if the meeting lasts five sets, we’ll sit here until two in the morning. But in the end, this match ended Alexander’s season. He was extremely unlucky. We will give it our all 100%”, The Tennis Letter quotes the words of the 24-year-old Oslo native on his social networks.
Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images
In a press conference after defeating Thomas Martin Etcheverry, Alexander answered the question of whether the memory of the terrible injury he received in last year’s tournament affects his sense of identity at Roland Garros 2023. “I go out on the pitch to win games And I don’t think about what happened last year. I often have to talk about it, but it’s normal, everyone has their own job. But I am here to win matches, to go far in the Grand Slam. Tennis consists of “Helmets”. This is what you play for. Slams and the Olympics are the two most important things in tennis. The semifinals and finals cannot be compared to other tournaments at all,” Alexander said at a press conference.
Photo: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
At the same time, the athlete also responded to one of the most exciting journalists of recent times: is he now allowed to administer insulin? The fact is that last August, Zverev publicly said for the first time that he had type 1 diabetes. During the matches of the current French Open, the tournament organizers prohibited a player from performing a vital procedure, while counting each exit from the court of the 26 year old tennis player to go to the bathroom.
“Now I can do what I want. They allowed it for this week, and then they will decide again at Wimbledon”, the US Open 2020 finalist hastened to reassure everyone.
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On Friday, Kasper and Alexander will have their fourth personal meeting. It is worth noting that the paths of the tennis players previously crossed exclusively at the stage of the quarterfinals of the Masters on hard surfaces. At Cincinnati and Bercy in 2021, Zverev celebrated victories. However, in the last fight to date in 2022 in Miami, the Norwegian was already stronger, who defeated his opponent in three sets.
History of personal encounters. Ruud – Zverev – 1:2
No.YearTournamentCoatingRoundWinnerResult12021CincinnatiHardQuarterfinalZverev6:1, 6:322021ParisHardQuarterfinalZverev7:5, 6:432022MiamiHardQuarterfinalRuud6:3, 1:6, 6:3
The new battle between Alexander and Kasper promises to be very hot. The stakes are high, after all: last year’s Paris Slam finalist will have to defend points for a breakthrough last season, and the German can go as far in his career at the French Open for the first time in his career. . Zverev has never played on the decisive stage on clay, although he has historically performed successfully there (for example, in the last four seasons, Alexander has reached the semifinals three times). According to the tennis public, it is the entry of the Tokyo Olympic champion in the final of Roland Garros 2023 that will be a more beautiful story, given everything that happened on the track Philippe Chatrier with him a year ago. But the upcoming French Open semifinal will definitely be a whole new chapter for Alexander. His fans believe that he will be happier this time than before.