Nadal into 14th French Open final as Zverev quits with horror injury

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Rafael Nadal reached his 14th French Open final when Alexander Zverev was forced to quit their semi-final after suffering a sickening right ankle injury on Friday.

Zverev had to leave the court in a wheelchair after turning his ankle as he chased down the ball in front of the players’ boxes on Court Philippe Chatrier where his team and family were sitting.

As his piercing screams of pain echoed around the 15,000-seater court, a tearful Zverev was helped from the court by medics.

“It’s very tough and very sad for him. He was playing an unbelievable tournament and he’s a very good colleague on the tour,” said 13-time champion Nadal.

“It had been a super tough match. Over three hours and we didn’t even finish the second set. It’s one of the biggest challenges on the tour when he’s playing like he did today.”

He added: “For me, to be in the final of Roland Garros is a dream, without a doubt, but at the same time, for it to finish that way… I have been there in the small room with Sascha and to see him crying like that — I wish him all the best.”

Until the dramatic end of the match, Zverev had been pushing Nadal all the way.

The Spaniard, dripping with sweat under the closed roof, saw three set points come and go in the 10th game as the German’s all-or-nothing hitting kept him in the match.

A blistering forehand pass gave him the opener on a sixth set point.

The second set was punctuated by eight breaks of serve. When Nadal broke for 2-1, he did so on the back of an exhausting 44-shot rally.

Victory saw Nadal, who knocked out world number one and defending champion Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals, take his record at the French Open to 111 wins and just three losses.

– Nadal doubts –

A chronic left foot injury has forced him to admit that any match may be the last of his record-breaking French Open career.

In Friday’s other semi-final, Cilic takes on Ruud with both men having made the semi-finals at Roland Garros for the first time.

Cilic, ranked 23 in the world, is in his first last-four at the majors since 2018 when he was runner-up to Federer at the Australian Open.

His testy quarter-final win over 19-year-old Holger Rune was his 65th on clay since the 2020 season. Seven of his eight titles have come on the surface.

Only two of his 20 career titles have come on clay courts, the most recent of which was at Istanbul in 2017.

Originally published as Nadal into 14th French Open final as Zverev quits with horror injury


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