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By Erik Gudris | @atntennis | Wednesday, June 7, 2023


Alexander Zverev fights back in the Paris final four for the third straight year.

Photo credit: Roland Garros Facebook

Last year in Paris, Alexander Zverev left the stadium court on crutches after suffering a horrific ankle injury in his semifinal against Rafael Nadal.

Many wondered if Zverev would ever play again. On this exact day 12 months ago, he underwent surgery to repair three ligaments in his right ankle. 


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Zverev, after spending seven months out of the sport, finds himself in a much better and healthier place as he returned to the Roland Garros semifinals for the third year in a row.


The 22nd-seeded German defeated Tomas Martin Etcheverry of Argentina 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to reach the final four in Paris.




Asked afterwards if reaching the semis again after last year’s injury made this return any sweeter, Zverev took a longer view. 


“Maybe looking at the history of last year a little bit, but I'm in the semifinal of a Grand Slam," Zverev said. "I'm happy to be in a semifinal of a Grand Slam any time that I'm there.

"But, of course, for me the tournament is not over. I'm happy to be here, but I know that hopefully I have two more matches ahead, and they're not going to get easier.”

After clinching the first set, Zverev soon had his hands full against Etcheverry.

The World No. 49 ranked Argentine reeled off winning three straight return games on his way to taking the second set and opening up a break lead in the third set.

While the Argentine’s forehand proved potent, it was Zverev’s experience and far superior backhand proved to be the decisive factor down the stretch.

The 26-year-old Zverev, at 4-3 in the fourth set, found himself serving down 15-40. Yet Zverev’s backhand got him out of trouble to take the game for 5-3. In his next service game, Zverev sealed his victory at that match’s end of 3 hours and 22 minutes.


In his post-match press conference, Zverev was asked if he had to reinvent his game at all during his injury comeback.

“Well, you know, going back from where you left because I think it is different. I couldn't play for the first seven months of my injury," Zverev said. "Then for the next three, four months I was still in pain, so I wasn't pain-free.

"I wasn't able to move the way I wanted to. But, I mean, sometimes it's also just reminding yourself of who you were and what kind of matches you have won in the past. I think that is important sometimes as well. But, again, I think I'm at a stage now where I'm not thinking about the injury so much anymore.

"I'm not thinking about what happened. I'm just happy to be back where I was last year, and I have another chance. Hopefully I can take it.”

A US Open finalist in 2021, Zverev is still on the hunt for his maiden major title. He awaits the winner of the Holger Rune and Casper Ruud quarterfinal. 


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