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French Open: Rafael Nadal after injury to Alexander Zverev in the final | tennis news

Rafael Nadal reaches the final of the French Open after Alexander Zverev sustained an ankle injury and is forced to withdraw from the semi-final match; Nadal and Zverev had been on the court for over three hours and hadn’t completed the second set yet

Last updated: 03/06/22 18:56

Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev were on the pitch for over three hours before Zverev's injury

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Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev were on the pitch for over three hours before Zverev’s injury

Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev were on the pitch for over three hours before Zverev’s injury

Rafael Nadal has reached the final of the French Open after Alexander Zverev sustained an ankle injury and was forced to withdraw from the semifinal match.

The contest was 7-6 (10-8) 6-6 when Zverev went onto his ankle and immediately cried out in pain.

The world No. 3 then left the pitch in a wheelchair to be given a medical time-out but was unable to continue and returned to shake hands with Nadal and inform the chair umpire of his retirement from the game.

“It’s very tough and I’m very sad for him,” Nadal said of Zverev on the pitch. “He had an incredible tournament and he’s a very good colleague on the tour.

“I know how hard he fights to win a Grand Slam; he was very unlucky at that moment and the only thing I’m sure of is that he won’t win just one [Grand Slam] but more than one.

“I wish him all the best and a very speedy recovery.”

Alexander Zverev was level with the 13-time French Open champion on the court

Alexander Zverev was level with the 13-time French Open champion on the court

The first set between Zverev and Nadal alone lasted an hour and 38 minutes and was decided by a tie-break.

Zverev had a minor glitch before regrouping and putting Nadal on the run. His powerful punch from the back of the court allowed him to switch ends and push further forward when the score was 4-2 before Nadal hit back.

During the tiebreak and match, Zverev’s 13-time French Open was forced to chase shots that most other players on the tour couldn’t match.

Nadal was pushed to show his best tennis and a string of winners at the end of the tie-break got the crowd on their feet.

The second saw a series of breaks of serve, with both men looking more nervous than in the first. Double faults came into play for Zverev, of which he delivered four over the course of the 12 games.

The duel continued until 6-6 before Zverev suffered his injury and his chances of finally reaching this year’s French Open were cruelly squashed.

“It was a super tough match, it lasted over three hours and we hadn’t even finished the second set,” Nadal noted on the court.

“It’s one of the biggest challenges on the tour today to beat him [Zverev]if he plays at this level.

“It’s difficult to say much in this situation. Of course, everyone knows that being back in the Roland Garros final is without a doubt a dream for me.

“But at the same time it’s very difficult to end up like that and see him like that.”

Nadal’s opponent in the final will be either Casper Ruud or Marin Cilic, with the two men taking on Court Philippe-Chatrier for their semi-final at 18:00 CET.

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