Alexander Zverev books French Open final vs Carlos Alcaraz as Ruud plagued by stomach bug | Tennis | Sport

Alexander Zverev reached his second Grand Slam final at the French Open with a 2-6 6-2 6-4 6-2 victory against Casper Ruud.

The Norwegian was the runner-up at Roland Garros in both 2022 and 2023, and he dropped just seven games when they met in the semi-final 12 months ago. But he struggled with a stomach issue during Friday’s match and needed medication.

Zverev will now face world No. 3 Carlos Alcaraz, who has an undefeated 2-0 record in Grand Slam finals.

Hours earlier, it was confirmed that Zverev had reached an out-of-court settlement with his ex-girlfriend after he was accused of strangling her in Berlin four years ago. The settlement does not include an admission of guilt.

Zverev was given a penalty order and a £380,000 fine for bodily harm against the ex-girlfriend last October. He denied all allegations and contested the penalty order, meaning the case went to court. The trial started last week but it was discontinued on Friday after representatives for Zverev and his ex-partner reached a settlement.

The Tiergarten District Court said: “There has been a settlement between the defendant and the complainant. This settlement is not part of this trial though and the court is not part of this settlement.”

Zverev was back on the tennis court for his semi-final match against Ruud on Friday evening, with Alcaraz already through to the championship match after defeating Jannik Sinner in five sets.

It was a slow start for the fourth seed, who threw in some double faults and was broken immediately. Ruud looked to be on his way to a third successive French Open final when he raced into a 6-2 lead after 37 minutes.

But the Norwegian started to struggle and Zverev quickly levelled the score when he took the second set 6-2. Ruud then eventually told the umpire that he was struggling with a stomach problem, calling the doctor and taking medication.

It did little to help, as he barely chased down balls. The world No. 7 had a lifeline with a break point as Zverev served for the third. Ruud’s sisters could be seen looking tense in his box, crossing their fingers. But they were left dismayed when the German took the set.

Ruud looked a shell of himself during the changeovers, struggling to breathe and bending over at his bench as he battled the stomach problem. The 25-year-old continued to go through the motions as Zverev’s level only improved. And the world No. 4 finished the match with more than 50 winners as he reached his second Grand Slam final, nearly four years after his first.

The two-time French Open finalist couldn’t even shake hands with Zverev because he clearly didn’t want to infect the 27-year-old with his illness. Addressing Ruud’s problems, on-court interviews Mats Wilander said: “There was no handshake at the end with Casper. I think he has a stomach bug, we wish him well.”

Zverev replied: “I felt the first two sets were very high level – the first set from him, the second set from me and then end of the third I saw that he started to move a bit slower. That’s normally how it is when you’re not feeling quite well. But his shots are still the same so if you just look at how he moves and all that, and if you started to be a bit more passive and wait for it, he’s going to win the match. Credits to him to play until the end and fight until the end.”

He will now try to win his first Grand Slam title after blowing a two-set lead against Dominic Thiem in the 2020 US Open final. „If not now, when?“ Zverev asked in his on-court interview.

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