The “King of Clay” is advancing to the 2022 French Open final.
Spain’s No. 5 Rafael Nadal defeated No. 3 Alexander Zverev 7-6, 6-6 Ret. on Friday in a match that was forced to end when the German took a nasty fall on the red clay running for a forehand and landed on his ankle.
The 25-year-old was visibly in immense pain, screaming while grabbing his leg. When the medics arrived at Court Philippe-Chatrier, they escorted Zverev to the locker room via wheelchair and determined he was unable to continue the match.
Zverev made his way back to the court in crutches to shake Nadal’s hand and received a massive standing ovation from the Paris crowd, who were soaking in the incredible match fully.
“Very tough, very sad for him honestly,” Nadal said after the match. “He was playing an unbelievable tournament.”
“I know how much he is fighting to win a Grand Slam but for the moment, he was very unlucky and the only thing I’m sure of is that he’ll win not only one but much more than one. So I wish him the very best,” Nadal added.
In nearly three hours, the match hadn’t even finished the second set, which is a credit to the intensity the two brought on the court. Zverev created leads in both the first and second set but was unable to close Nadal out.
The two had struggled to hold serve, however, each converting five break points. Up 5-3 in the second set, Zverev produced three of his eight double faults of the match, in one game.
In the final, Nadal will face the winner of the semifinal match between No. 20 Marin Cilic and No. 8 Casper Ruud. He will be battling for his 14th French Open title and 22nd Grand Slam on Sunday.
The match will be played at 9 a.m. ET on NBC and Peacock.