Alexander Zverev reached the French Open semi-finals for a third successive season on Wednesday, one year after his tournament ended in pain and tears when he tore ankle ligaments which left him in a wheelchair. The German world number 27 claimed a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Tomas Martin Etcheverry of Argentina and will face either Casper Ruud, the 2022 runner-up, or Holger Rune for a place in Sunday’s final. It will be Zverev’s sixth Grand Slam semi-final and will be played on the same Philippe Chatrier Court where he suffered his nightmare season-ending injury against Rafael Nadal in 2022.
Ranked at three in the world at the time, he was taken off court in a wheelchair after tearing ligaments and was out of action until January this year.
“That was the most difficult year of my life,” said Zverev. “I love playing tennis and the sport and competition were taken away from me.
“I am so happy to be back on this stage and happy to be able to have another chance to play for a place in the final.”
On Wednesday, Olympic champion Zverev broke in the seventh game of the first set and saved two break points in the eighth game before going on to pocket the opener against his Argentine rival.
Etcheverry, ranked 49 and in the quarter-final at the majors for the first time, stretched to 4-2 in the second set on his way to levelling the tie and was quickly 2-0 up in the third.
But Zverev reeled off five games in a row before clinching the third set.
The 26-year-old then grabbed the key break to edge ahead 4-3 in the fourth set.
US Open runner-up in 2020, Zverev wrapped up proceedings when Etcheverry, who hadn’t dropped a set all tournament before Wednesday, went wide with a service return.
“He reminds me of Juan Martin del Potro with that big forehand,” said Zverev of Etcheverry, comparing him to the 2009 US Open winner and fellow Argentine.
“He’s still young. I’m sure he will have many more quarter-finals here.”
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