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Ruud reaches first Grand Slam final at Roland-Garros with win over Cilic

Casper Ruud defeated Marin Cilic 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 on Friday evening and will face Spaniard Rafael Nadal, the No 5 seed, in the final. It will be Ruud’s first appearance in a slam championship match.

Casper Ruud, Roland-Garros 2022 Norway’s Casper Ruud reacts during his semi final match against Croatia’s Marin Cilic © AI / Reuters / Panoramic

The bottom half of the French Open draw was wide open when the pre-tournament ceremony was held two weeks ago, and it is Casper Ruud who has taken advantage. 

Ruud moved into the Roland-Garros final by defeating No 20 seed Marin Cilic 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 on Friday evening. The wold No 8 recovered from a slow start to triumph after two hours and 55 minutes. He will face 13-time champion Rafael Nadal for the title on Sunday in what will be Ruud’s first appearance in a major final.


Surprisingly, Ruud finish with more aces than Cilic (16 to 10). He did not hit as many winners (41 to 51), but the 23-year-old made only 21 unforced errors to his opponent’s 56.

“It feels very exciting,” Ruud assured. “It’s something I and all players probably dream about when they’re young. As their careers grow older, (it) becomes of course more (of a) goal — but still a dream. So to be able to play a Grand Slam final is something I have looked up to always on TV, and I will of course give it my all.”

It was still an outstanding tournament for Cilic, who at times recaptured the form that has carried him to three Grand Slam finals — including the 2014 US Open title. The Croat beat Hungarian Attila Balazs (6-0, 6-1, 6-2), Hungarian Marton Fucsovics (4-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-3), Frenchman wildcard Gilles Simon (6-0, 6-3, 6-2), Russian Daniil Medvedev, the second seed (6-2, 6-3, 6-2) and Russian Andrey Rublev, the No 7 seed (5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 [2]).

“I have to say that my form now last few weeks just went very steep,” the 33-year-old assessed. “I started to feel great on the court, connected now five, six matches that were really, really high level. Part of the (semi-final) match was also quite good; I have to be definitely happy with that.

“It’s also a challenge now for me to keep that up and to keep going like that, to be on that kind of a level week after week. Then I believe good wins are going to come, as well.”

Ruud’s run to his first final also includes victories over French wild card Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (6-7 [6], 7-6 [4], 6-2, 7-6), Finn Emil Ruusuvuori (6-3, 6-4, 6-2), Italian Lorenzo Sonego, the No 32 seed (6-2, 6-7 [3], 1-6, 6-4, 6-3), Pole Hubert Hurkacz, the No 12 seed (6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3) and Dane Holger Rune (6-1, 4-6, 7-6 [2], 6-3).

Nadal emerged from a top half of the draw that was also home to Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, and Alexander Zverev. The 36-year-old defeated Djokovic in the quarter-finals and then advanced past Zverev via second-set retirement on Friday.

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