Facebook Social Button Twitter Social Button Follow Us on InstagramYouTube Social Button
NewsScoresRankingsLucky Letcord PodcastShopPro GearPickleballGear Sale

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Friday June 9, 2023

Casper Ruud

Casper Ruud swept past Alexander Zverev to reach the Roland-Garros final for the second time in as many years.

Photo Source: Getty

Casper Ruud is back in a Roland-Garros final after demolishing Germany’s Alexander Zverev in Friday’s second semi-final on Court Philippe-Chatrier, 6-3, 6-4, 6-0.

Tennis Express

The highest-ranked tennis player in Norway’s history has a heady task in Sunday’s final, even it promises to be a little less daunting than it was in 2022.

Ruud will be up against the march of history as he faces Novak Djokovic, who is bidding to become the all-time Grand Slam men’s singles title leader with 23. Last year the No.4 seed from Oslo was pummeled by 14-time Roland-Garros champion Rafael Nadal, 6-3, 6-3, 6-0, in the final, but he has shown resilience by making a second go of it this year in Paris.

“It's going to be tough, for sure,” Ruud said of his impending clash with Djokovic on Friday night. “He's playing for his 23rd. I'm playing for my first. So I'm going to just try to play without pressure and just try to enjoy the moment.

“I think that was my mentality last year, as well, and it didn't go my way. Obviously I would like to try to do better than last year. Let's see if I have learned something from the two previous ones that I played last year.”

Ruud owns an 0-4 lifetime record against Djokovic, and has lost all eight sets that the pair have contested, which suggests that he could be in over his head once again on Sunday.

But the Norwegian was in tip-top form against Zverev as he clocked 25 winners against 19 unforced errors and saved eight of nine break points to reach his third major final in his last five Grand Slam appearances.

The 24-year-old improved to 19-5 lifetime at Roland-Garros with the win, and 2-2 against Zverev.

The No.4 seed says he is planning to take what he learned from his last two Grand Slam finals and put them to use on Sunday against Djokovic.

First and foremost, he wants to play like he has nothing to lose.

“I have never beaten him before,” he said. “So I'm going to have to try to come up with a better game plan and just know I'm going to have to play my best game, my A game, my best level that I've ever played if I want to have a chance against him.

“I'm going to try to do that, and try to play without too much pressure. That's sort of what I did today, just went out, didn't think too much, didn't want to show too many emotions, either good or bad ones. I was just in the zone. Let's see if I can keep this sort of feeling and mentality in for the final.”

Zverev, who has now reached the semifinals at each of the last three French Opens, believes there is one thing working in Ruud’s favor: the pressure will be on Djokovic, who is on the cusp of one of the biggest titles of his career.

“Novak is one of the best players in the world, that's for sure, but when you're on the brink of history I think that adds a little bit of pressure,” Zverev said. “You remember the US Open final he had with Medvedev after beating me in the semis still. The pressure, you know, we are all human. Novak is human. We all feel it.

“So I think for him, for Casper, that's the best scenario, to be honest.”


Latest News