French Open 2024: Alexander Zverev beats Casper Rudd to set up final clash with Alcaraz

Alexander Zverev exacted revenge on Casper Ruud at the French Open on Friday to reach his second Grand Slam final and first since 2020, with Carlos Alcaraz standing between him and the title.

Fourth seed Zverev, who had lost in the semi-finals at Roland Garros in each of the past three years, fought back to beat Ruud 2-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 in a repeat of their last-four clash 12 months ago.

Zverev won just seven games when the pair met in the 2023 semis and a similar story was on the cards after Ruud cruised through the opening set.

But the German raised his game, reaching his first French Open final and keeping his hopes of a maiden Grand Slam title alive.

Zverev holds a career 5-4 winning record against Alcaraz, including a victory in their only previous Roland Garros meeting in the 2022 quarter-finals.

Alcaraz earlier battled past incoming world number one Jannik Sinner in five sets.

“If you’re in the final of Roland Garros, you deserve to be there. That goes for him, as well,” said Zverev. “He played a fantastic match today. Played a fantastic tournament in general, I think. I’m expecting a very difficult match.”

There will be two first-time finalists for the first year since Rafael Nadal defeated Mariano Puerta for the first of his 14 titles in 2005.

The 27-year-old Zverev’s only previous major final appearance saw him blow a two-set lead to lose to Dominic Thiem at the 2020 US Open.

“I was not ready then to win my first Grand Slam final,” said Zverev, the first German man to make the final since Michael Stich in 1996. “I’m definitely not a kid any more, I’m a little older. If not now, then when?”

A German court dropped a case against Zverev over allegations he assaulted an ex-girlfriend earlier on Friday, after a settlement was agreed.

Ruud was targeting a fourth Grand Slam final, but the two-time Roland Garros runner-up was well below his best and struggling with illness.

“I wasn’t able to play with the kind of tennis I like to play with intensity because I was kind of limited with my stomach,” said Ruud. “I don’t want to make an excuse or excuses, but it’s frustrating and disappointing.”

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