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Alexander Zverev vs Casper Ruud French Open 2023 Preview and Prediction

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While popular opinion is that the winner of this one is on a hiding to nothing in the final, the second semi final between Alexander Zverev and Casper Ruud still has a lot of intrigue to it. Both men felt vulnerable at the start of the tournament but have done a good job in defending their high point totals from last year. Zverev has matched his semi final while Ruud is just this win away from a return to the final.

Zverev has managed to play himself into form here with this run seeing him string three consecutive wins together for just the second time since last year’s tournament. He ended the fairytale run of Tomas Martin Etcheverry in the quarter finals but he was made to work for the 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-4 win. Faced with a 0-2 deficit in set three, he upped his level and seized control of the match with five straight games on his way to victory. “The conditions during the day are a lot better for me,” Zverev said after. “The ball is a lot faster and bounces higher. I love to play on clay and day conditions are better… I am in the semi-finals at Roland Garros and I am happy about that.

Ruud moved to 5-1 against Holger Rune, taking advantage of a fatigued performance by the Dane to win in four sets 6-1 6-2 3-6 6-3. Ruud was in control of many of the rallies and forced his opponent to go aggressive, a strategy doomed to fail after his marathon match in the previous round. There was a minor comeback brewing after set three but Ruud soon snuffed that out, breaking for 3-1 for the all important final break. “He plays very aggressive. Luckily for me the first two sets he wasn’t probably feeling it too well, he was doing a lot of errors, so I sort of got a lot of points for free.” he said after. “So that helped the nerves, but he fought back. Third set he came out playing better and then in the fourth set I was just lucky to get that one break and then keep it all the way out.”

It was this time last year that Zverev’s struggles began, picking up an injury while remaining competitive against Rafael Nadal in the semi final here. It would be a fitting end for the tournament for him to make the final he missed out on last year but it may be the end of the road for the Germany. He is yet to beat a top ten player in six occasions this year and Ruud will look to make it seven by taking control of the rallies throughout. The Norwegian is just relentless on defence and will force Zverev to become more aggressive with his ability to maintain that level effectively at an elite level post-injury still being in question, despite his run here. Any Zverev win should also come through a high level serving performance but the German will need to reduce the amount of double faults he has been hitting recently, having made 26 in the last three matches.

Prediction – Casper Ruud in four sets

Aaron Higgs
Aaron Higgs
Experienced tennis writer with a focus on event previews and results.

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