The French Open is in the semifinal stage, with two thrilling matches. The most anticipated is a battle between arguably one of the greatest players of all time, Novak Djokovic, and 20-year-old sensation Carlos Alcaraz, who could perhaps rival the Big Three's records down the line.
The night match features last year’s Roland Garros finalist, Casper Ruud, against back-to-back French Open semifinalist Alexander Zverev.
Here’s a look at the odds:
Casper Ruud (+100) vs. Alexander Zverev (-120)
OV/UN: 39.5 games
Zverev is getting attention because of his incredible comeback from an ankle injury sustained in last year’s French Open semifinal against eventual winner Rafael Nadal. Zverev lost the first set in a tiebreak, pushed Nadal to a second-set tiebreak, retired from the match because of the injury and was wheeled off the court. He’s now in his third straight Roland Garros semifinal. Incredible.
It’s because of that storyline that it’s going unnoticed just how well Ruud has been playing in this tournament. Ruud is flying under the radar, yet playing with control and consistency. Not only does he have a powerful forehand that will test Zverev’s defensive skills, but Ruud also plays without getting flustered in pressure spots. Plus, he has match management experience after playing in the French Open final last year.
What we’ve seen from Zverev is strong, but he’s not bulletproof. We’ve witnessed him drop his focus against Frances Tiafoe and Lloyd Harris in this tournament and get pushed to tiebreaks when not having solid return games. Ruud has an aggressive style. He’ll have to use that aggression to reach the final for a second straight year.
If this were the day match or on a faster court, Zverev’s serve could present a problem. Because it’s not, Ruud will apply the pressure to Zverev by getting Zverev’s serve into play and extending the rallies. Ruud is averaging 13 break points per match. His offense will dictate the match, but his defense will aggravate Zverev. The Norwegian has already been tested by a big serve in his fourth-round match against Nicolás Jarry. He won’t be giving up cheap points. Ruud has played too solid in this tournament and will come out with the win. My prediction is Ruud will win in four sets.
The pick: Ruud (+100)