With an apparent lack of nervousness, Casper Ruud, the world’s fourth-ranked player, comfortably bested Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 in the second French Open semi-final.
Ruud goes into his third championship match in the span of five Grand Slam tournaments off the back of an assured victory.
The Norwegian finished as the runner-up at both the 2022 US Open and in Paris last year.
Ruud outplayed Zverev on Court Philippe-Chatrier in a victory that took him two hours and nine minutes to complete.
“Honestly, I just went out there and tried to play without too many feelings, without thinking too much,” said Ruud in his on-court interview following the quickfire win.
“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.
“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.”
In order to secure his place in Sunday’s championship game, where he will compete for his first major title, Ruud converted six of the ten break points he was presented.
Ruud had a modest 16-11 record for 2023 going into Roland Garros, but he had recently showed hints that he was getting better after a challenging start to the year.
The 24-year-old maintained his turnaround in Paris by dropping only two sets en route to his third major final after winning his 10th ATP Tour title in Estoril in April and making it to the ATP Masters 1000 semi-final in Rome in May were the highlights of his clay swing ahead of the Major.
“I didn’t come into Roland Garros thinking I was a favourite to reach the final,” said Ruud.
“Not at all. I was trying to think one match at a time, and let’s see how it goes from there.
“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.”
Ruud will face Novak Djokovic in the French Open men’s singles final on Sunday after the Serbian defeated Spain Carlos Alcaraz in the other semi-final.
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