Alexander Zverev reaches French Open semis for fourth straight year

League: Tennis

Posted on: 06 Jun, 2024 at 12:37 AM

Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

Alexander Zverev punched his ticket to the French Open semifinals for the fourth straight year with a 6-4, 7-6 (5), 6-4 quarterfinal victory over Alex de Minaur on Wednesday in Paris.

The fourth-seeded Zverev converted 5 of 6 break points while knocking off the 11th-seeded de Minaur of Australia.

Zverev has won 11 consecutive matches entering his semifinal clash with No. 7 seed Casper Ruud of Norway, who advanced via walkover due to top-seeded Serbian Novak Djokovic withdrawing due to a right knee injury sustained in the previous round.

Zverev wasn't particularly sharp with 48 unforced errors and 20 winners on Wednesday, but the German came through during pivotal times in the match.

Now his focus is on reaching his second Grand Slam final. In the first one, Zverev lost to Austria's Dominic Thiem in five sets in the 2020 U.S. Open, falling after winning the first two sets.

"I have a mindset that you have to work harder than everyone else to be the best player," Zverev said after Wednesday's victory. "I think the best players are all doing that.

"For me, I like to work to my limit and, if I do that, playing five sets is not that difficult. I have been doing that over many years now and I am happy it is paying off. I am happy to be in another semifinal, hopefully I can win one."

After winning the first set, Zverev had to rally in the second, as de Minaur held a 6-5 lead. Zverev staved off a set point before winning the game to force a tiebreaker.

Zverev fell behind 4-0 in the tiebreak before battling back. He eventually posted the final four points to win the set.

"Running for everything, putting the balls back in the court, sometimes it pays off," Zverev said. "I wish I would be more aggressive sometimes, but if I'm winning, I'm happy. I'm in the semifinals, and that's all that matters."

In the third set, Zverev held a 5-2 lead before de Minaur won the next two games. Zverev then broke the Aussie's serve to finish off the victory.

While de Minaur had 28 winners, he was hurt by 53 unforced errors.

Meanwhile, Ruud will be well-rested on Friday due to Djokovic's injury. Ruud has lost in the final in each of the past two French Opens -- falling to Spaniard Rafael Nadal in 2022 and Djokovic last season.

Ruud also easily defeated Zverev in three sets in last year's semis at Roland Garros.

No. 2 seed Jannik Sinner of Italy and third-seeded Carlos Alcaraz of Spain will meet in Friday's other semifinal.

--Field Level Media