Friday, June 14, 2024

– Something that doesn’t add up

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Casper Ruud at Roland-Garros. Photo: Thibault Camus / AP Photo / NTB.

Of NTB | 07.06.2024 23:13:14

Sport: With the numbers 6-2, 2-6 4-6, 2-6, Ruud’s dream of playing his third straight final at Roland-Garros was dashed. In last year’s final, he defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets. The year before, he suffered the same fate against Rafael Nadal.

– Whether it is food poisoning or what, it is not so easy to say, but there is something not right in the stomach. This means that you become somewhat limited and drained of energy, and then it becomes difficult to play with power and energy. Something like that makes you a bit put off, says Ruud to NTB.

– I’m not going to make too many excuses, but today that’s what’s bothering me. And credits to Sasha (Zverev) who takes the fight and I don’t have much to say about his good game, he continues.

In this year’s final, Zverev meets Spanish Carlos Alcaraz, who secured advancement in a five-set thriller against Jannik Sinner earlier on Friday evening.

– Casper is too good a player to wait and not to try to play your own game. I did it last year and lost fast. I knew I had to be more aggressive. I’m happy that it went today and that I’m in the final, said Zverev in the victory interview.

After the loss, Ruud refrained from shaking Zverev’s hand, but instead gave a friendly nudge and thanked him for the match.

– I saw that he was a little slower, and that’s what happens when you don’t feel well. All praise to him for enduring the battle. A nice guy and a nice player, said Zverev.

Before Friday’s clash, Ruud and Zverev had met four times, where they had run away with two victories each. The boy from Snarøya had indeed won both of the last two matches, and we have to go all the way back to the winter of 2021 to find the last time Zverev beat the Norwegian 25-year-old.

Ruud and Zverev also met in last year’s semifinals at Roland-Garros. Then the German was beaten clearly in three sets. In the last set, Zverev did not win a single game.

This year’s semi-final didn’t seem to be any different either when Ruud broke Zverev already in the German’s first service game and led 3-0 after just 13 minutes.

– Casper also has a bit of flow, but now he’s good, exclaimed Discovery commentator Svein-Espen Lindås Olsen.

– He simply has no opportunity to stand up to Casper’s game here. What a start, you are completely raw, commented Lindås Olsen.

Unfortunately for Ruud, the second set was much tougher. Zverev first broke his first service game, before getting another break point in the next attempt. Ruud did save to 1-2, but after sweeping through to 3-1, Zverev broke Ruud again to 4-1.

Zverev eventually made short work and hit back with a 6-2 win in the second set. Thus, the game was completely open again.

When changing sides, Ruud received supervision from the doctor and a pill for the stomach problems. Admittedly, it did not have an immediate effect for the Norwegian, who was again broken to 2-3.

However, Ruud recovered a bit again at 4-5 and fought his way to a break ball. Unfortunately, the German was too strong and served out the set at 6-4.

The fourth set also started lead-heavy for Ruud, who was again broken in the first service game. Zverev broke again for 5-2, before eventually winning both the set and the match 6-2.

Earlier in the week, Ruud missed meeting world number one and defending champion Novak Djokovic. The Serbian had to withdraw due to a knee injury.

Five service games later, Ruud struck again and broke Zverev for the second time. Thus he also won the set 6-2.

The third set started more evenly, but at 1-1 Ruud signaled that he was in pain and asked to see the doctor. The boy from Snarøya still managed to serve to make it 2-1.

(© NTB)

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