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Zverev reaches another French Open semi-final

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Germany’s Alexander Zverev reached the French Open semi-finals for the fourth consecutive year by seeing off the spirited challenge of Australia’s Alex de Minaur.

Fourth seed Zverev, 27, came through to win 6-4 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 against 11th seed De Minaur.

Now Zverev has another chance to reach the Roland Garros final after missing out in each of the past three years.

Standing in his way will be Norwegian seventh seed Casper Ruud, who outclassed Zverev in last year’s semi-finals.

“I’m happy to be back in another semi-final, hopefully I can win one,” said Zverev.

Ruud, 25, moved into the last four without playing as a result of Novak Djokovic’s withdrawal on Tuesday.

Defending champion Djokovic, 37, pulled out with a knee injury which hampered him during a gutsy fourth-round win on Monday.

In the other semi-final Italian second seed Jannik Sinner will take on Spanish third seed Carlos Alcaraz.

Both semi-finals will be played on Friday – when Zverev’s ongoing court case into domestic abuse allegations resumes in Berlin.

The Olympic champion, who denies allegations of physically abusing his former girlfriend, does not have to be present in court and remained in Paris when the trial opened last week.

Before the tournament he insisted the case was “not on my mind” and has not spoken about it further.

Despite the shadow of the trial, Zverev is now two wins from clinching the Grand Slam title which his talent on the tennis court has long promised.

Zverev tuned up for the French Open by winning the prestigious Rome title, a victory which consolidated his place among the pre-tournament favourites at Roland Garros.

He has justified that position with five victories which have demonstrated his quality and resilience.

De Minaur had never gone beyond the second round at Roland Garros until this year, but the 25-year-old caused plenty of problems with his speed around the court and ability to get the ball back.

The opening two sets were tight and tense, each lasting around the hour mark and signifying the pair’s duelling from the baseline.

De Minaur hitting a double fault on break point at 3-3 was enough to tip the first in Zverev’s favour, while the German recovered a 4-0 deficit in the tie-break – including winning a 39-shot rally at 5-5 – to strengthen his position.

Hearing De Minaur shade the support on Court Philippe Chatrier appeared to rattle Zverev, who stood motionless cupping his ear after moving two sets clear.

The third was more straightforward for Zverev – until he was broken when serving for the match at 5-3.

But, like he has done all the way through the tournament, he recovered and elevated his game in the key moments to clinch victory.

“I have the mindset you have to work harder than everyone else to be the best player,” said Zverev.

“I like to work to my absolute limit. If I do that then playing five sets all of a sudden is not that difficult.”

 

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