French Open 2022: Rafael Nadal, Casper Ruud Set Up Showdown in Men's Final

Adam WellsJune 3, 2022

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 03: Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates against Alexander Zverev of Germany during the Men's Singles Semi Final match on Day 13 of The 2022 French Open at Roland Garros on June 03, 2022 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The 2022 French Open is nearing its conclusion, with Friday featuring four semifinal matches in two different groups.

Rafael Nadal will compete for his 14th career title in this tournament after a victory over Alexander Zverev. The match ended in the second set when Zverev suffered an ankle injury.

After a medical timeout, Zverev came back onto the court with a pair of crutches unable to put pressure on his right ankle.

Nadal will take on Casper Ruud for the championship on Sunday. The eighth-seeded Ruud is playing in his first Grand Slam tournament final after defeating Marin Cilic in four sets.

In addition to the men's matches, the women's doubles semifinals also took place. Coco Gauff, who will play for the women's singles title on Saturday, advanced to the doubles final with Jessica Pegula. They defeated fellow Americans Madison Keys and Taylor Townsend in straight sets.

2022 French Open Results - Friday, June 3

Men's Semifinal: Rafael Nadal def. Alexander Zverev, 7-6 (8), 6-6 (retired)

Men's Semifinal: Casper Ruud def. Marin Cilic, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2,

Women's Doubles: Coco Gauff/Jessica Pegula def. Madison Keys/Taylor Townsend, 6-4, 7-6 (4)

Women's Doubles: Caroline Garcia/Kristina Mladenovic def. Lyudmyla Kichenok/Jelena Ostapenko, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2

Day 13 Recap

Prior to the injury, Zverev was doing a fantastic job of trading blows with Nadal through two sets.

The German star looked to be on his way to winning the first set. He held serve to take a 4-2 lead after six games. Nadal quickly turned things around, winning four straight points in the next game and breaking Zverev's serve to even the set.

In the tiebreak, Zverev was serving for the set with a 6-4 advantage. Nadal was able to stay alive with one incredible shot that kept the rally alive and a forehand running across the court and back across his body that Zverev couldn't get to.

Roland-Garros @rolandgarros

MINDBLOWING 🤯<br><br>and trailing set point!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RolandGarros?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RolandGarros</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/RafaelNadal?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RafaelNadal</a> <a href="https://t.co/rSFQ97j0As">pic.twitter.com/rSFQ97j0As</a>

Nadal won six of the final eight points in the tiebreak to take the first set. The second set was a lot more of the same, with both trading games throughout.

The highlight of the match came on the final point in the third game. Nadal won a 44-shot rally after Zverev committed an unforced error.

Roland-Garros @rolandgarros

4️⃣4️⃣ shots.....and 🪑<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RolandGarros?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RolandGarros</a> <a href="https://t.co/cHNGOtSDif">pic.twitter.com/cHNGOtSDif</a>

Zverev took a 5-3 lead and was on serve with a chance to close out the set. Nadal was able to break him to win the game, and the Spaniard held serve to even the match again.

Trailing 6-5, Nadal held serve to square the set one more time. Zverev hurt his ankle on the final point of the game.

Roland-Garros @rolandgarros

👏<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RolandGarros?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RolandGarros</a> <a href="https://t.co/92f8AhegIQ">pic.twitter.com/92f8AhegIQ</a>

Ruud has had an arduous run through the tournament. The 23-year-old has had to play at least four sets in five of his six matches. His third-round match against Lorenzo Sonego went five sets, with Ruud winning the final two sets to avoid being sent home.

Cilic got the early advantage over Ruud in the first set by winning four straight games after falling behind 3-2. The match quickly turned in favor of Ruud from that point. He had seven of his 16 aces in the second set.

The third set was pretty much all Ruud. He won the first four games, capping off the third game with this fantastic winner to break Cilic.

NBC Sports @NBCSports

What a shot from Casper Ruud! 🎾<br><br>📺: NBC and <a href="https://twitter.com/peacockTV?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@peacockTV</a>. <a href="https://t.co/IYiSC1V8yH">pic.twitter.com/IYiSC1V8yH</a>

Things continued to go in Ruud's favor in the fourth and final set. He broke Cilic's serve in the first game and polished off the second game with an ace.

Ruud put an exclamation point on the win with a 124-mph ace on match point. He is the first Norwegian player in history to reach a Grand Slam final.

Roland-Garros @rolandgarros

Maiden Slam final mood 😃<a href="https://twitter.com/CasperRuud98?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CasperRuud98</a> becomes the first Norwegian man in history to reach a Grand Slam <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RolandGarros?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RolandGarros</a> <a href="https://t.co/ShQEPIOwFh">pic.twitter.com/ShQEPIOwFh</a>

Sunday's final will mark the first head-to-head meeting between Nadal and Ruud. Nadal has a 30-3 record this season and is looking to win his second consecutive Grand Slam title. He defeated Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open final for his record 21st men's singles Slam championship.

Ruud has a 30-9 record in singles matches in 2022. The No. 8 seed can win his second consecutive tournament after a victory at the Geneva Open last month.

Gauff is in the best stretch of her young career. The 18-year-old is in her first Grand Slam final as a singles competitor. She previously reached the women's doubles final of the 2021 U.S. Open with Caty McNally, but they lost to Samantha Stosur and Zhang Shuai.

Playing alongside Pegula, Gauff can be the second woman in two years to win multiple titles at Roland Garros in a single year. Barbora Krejcikova won singles and doubles titles in 2021.

Keys and Townsend took a 2-1 lead in the first set thanks for a forced error by their opponents on the final point of the third game. Gauff and Pegula rebounded by winning three straight games to take control of the set in a 6-4 win.

Things were much closer in the second set. Both teams traded wins through the first eight games. It wasn't until Gauff and Pegula held serve in the eighth and broke Keys and Townsend in the ninth that either side had won consecutive games.

Keys and Townsend returned the favor by winning the next two games to take a 6-5 lead. They were unable to break Gauff and Pegula, who won four straight points in the next game to force a tiebreak.

Gauff and Pegula won six of the first seven points in the tiebreak. They clinched a victory after an unforced error on match point. Keys and Townsend committed 27 unforced errors in the loss.

They will take on the duo of Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic, who dug themselves out of an early hole to defeat Lyudmyla Kichenok and Jelena Ostapenko.

The Kichenok-Ostapenko pairing took the first set in 35 minutes. They took advantage of three double-faults and won three out of four break-point opportunities en route to a 6-2 win.