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French Open: Casper Ruud races past Alexander Zverev, sets Novak Djokovic showdown in final

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Paris | June 10, 2023 6:10:05 AM IST
Casper Ruud charged into his second straight French Open final in Paris as he demolished Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 to register an easy victory in a semifinal match at the Court Philippe-Chatrier.

With a win over Zverev in the semifinals, Ruud set up a blockbuster clash against Novak Djokovic in Sunday's championship match.

Playing at the Court Philippe-Chatrier, Ruud dominated Zverev with his signature clean baseline hitting, completing a two-hour and nine-minute victory.

His relentlessness in forcing his opponent to play was the defining quality of his performance against Zverev. Ruud committed only 19 unforced errors in three sets, compared to 37 for Zverev, and his rocket forehand was the major weapon in his 25-win total.

Zverev dropped his first service game of the match, but quickly rallied with a break of his own in the third game to take a 1-2 lead. That was the most the German could do, as he did not break his opponent's serve again. Ruud broke again in the next game and was really adept at blunting the 22nd seed's powerful delivery with some razor-sharp returns throughout.

"Honestly I just went out there and tried to play without too many feelings, without thinking too much. If it's towards the end of the tournament, everyone here playing today has done well anyway. So I tried to play without pressure, without thinking too much, and not to play with too much emotion, if that makes sense," ATP.com quoted Ruud as saying.

"Today just went really well. From the beginning to the last point, everything was going my way, luckily, and I'm just very happy to win this match," he added.

"I didn't come into Roland Garros thinking I was a favourite to reach the final. Not at all. I was trying to think one match at a time, and let's see how it goes from there," said Ruud.

"Obviously I [thought then that I] would love to be back in the final like last year, and I [was] always thinking about trying to defend this final spot from last year, but here we are, two weeks later. It's been two very fun weeks here in Paris, just as fun as last year, and hopefully the third time can be the charm for me," he added.

Ruud sealed the second set with a solitary break in the seventh game, and he rushed to victory from there as a tired Zverev battled to keep up. To complete his victory, the fourth seed strolled to the final set without facing a break point.

"[I'm] very disappointed with today, because I think you can lose but the game just was not there at all. [It was] a big difference unfortunately to the previous matches, but that's the way it is. He played well. I played very, very much below average. That's how it goes," said Zverev after falling at the semi-final stage for the third consecutive year at Roland Garros. (ANI)

 
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