A year ago, one of these players was at a career-high, while the other was wondering if he would ever compete again.
Now, a year later, Alexander Zverev and Casper Ruud meet with a chance at the French Open final on the line.
Who will persevere?
Can Zverev continue his impressive run?
Will Ruud make it back to the final?
Heading into the match tomorrow, here is everything you need to know.
French Open Semifinals: Casper Ruud vs. Alexander Zverev
Casper Ruud’s year hasn’t been as dominant as it was in 2022 or even 2021.
In fact, early on, there were questions surrounding Ruud’s struggles.
Yet, this past week the former #2 avenged his two most recent clay losses with ease.
First, it was Nicholas Jarry in straight sets.
Then, a masterclass against Holger Rune in four.
The 2022 French Open finalist who entered the French Open with sudden momentum, and confidence, after putting together arguably his best run of the year at the Italian Open, is now just one match away from making it back to the final.
What’s gotten him here are a few things.
One, Ruud has been playing some of the most consistent tennis.
Two, he has become more aggressive and thrived at the net, most evident by his dismantling of #6 Holger Rune.
His next competitor offers a stern challenge, though.
Just a year ago, Alexander Zverev suffered a gruesome ankle injury in the French Open Semifinals, which required him to be wheeled off the court, get surgery, and miss eight months of tennis.
It would be fair to say Alexander Zverev’s career was looking bleak.
Yet, the former #2 is somehow back again in the semifinals at Roland Garros for the third straight year.
Coming into the French Open, he had displayed promising results, advancing to the 4th round in both the clay ATP 1000 masters events, yet he was not even considered a top 5 candidate to win.
While he may not be the same player he was, Zverev has shown glimpses of his former self in his last few matches, dominating baseline rallies, and utilizing that powerful first serve.
Who will advance?
This is going to be a great match.
This comes down to Zverev’s first serve. If he is hitting it at an efficient pace, this match should be for his taking.
However, that is a big if.
Ruud’s baseline success and net skills make me believe he will overcome the challenge.