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French Open 2023 Day 11 recap: Iga Swiatek sets up Haddad Maia clash as Alexander Zverev reaches semis

German tennis player Alexander Zverev made an emotional return to the French Open semi-finals on Wednesday, one year after a horror ankle injury sent his career into a tailspin. Zverev, ranked 27th in the world, claimed a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Tomas Martin Etcheverry of Argentina and will face Casper Ruud, the 2022 runner-up, for a place in Sunday’s final. This will be Zverev’s sixth Grand Slam semi-final and will be played on the same Philippe Chatrier Court where he suffered torn ankle ligaments against Rafael Nadal 12 months ago.

“That was the most difficult year of my life,” said the 26-year-old 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, Zverev broke in the seventh game of the first set and saved two break points in the eighth before going on to pocket the opener. Etcheverry, ranked 49th and in the quarter-finals at the majors for the first time, leveled the tie and was quickly 2-0 up in the third set. But Zverev reeled off five games in a row before clinching the third set and then grabbed the key break to edge ahead 4-3 in the fourth.

Swiatek Continues Dominance with Seventh Straight Win Over Gauff

World number one and defending champion Iga Swiatek continued her dominance at the French Open, moving into the semi-finals after beating Coco Gauff for the seventh straight time. Swiatek brushed aside the 19-year-old American 6-4, 6-2 in a rematch of last year’s final. The 22-year-old from Poland is chasing a third French Open crown and attempting to become the first woman to successfully defend the title in Paris since Justine Henin in 2007. “It wasn’t easy, the first set was really tight. Coco was really using the conditions, so I was happy to be able to work on it and win this match,” said Swiatek, who has yet to drop a set at the tournament.

On losing seven out of seven to the Pole, Gauff admitted “It sucks.” Swiatek will face Brazilian trailblazer Beatriz Haddad Maia in the semi-finals. Haddad Maia, the world number 14, defeated seventh-ranked Ons Jabeur 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-1 to become the first Brazilian woman to reach a Grand Slam semi-final since seven-time major winner Maria Bueno at the 1968 US Open. Haddad Maia will go into Thursday’s semi-final buoyed by beating Swiatek in their only previous meeting on the hard courts of Toronto last year.

Ruud and Sabalenka Also Advance to Semi-Finals

Casper Ruud, runner-up to Nadal 12 months ago, defeated Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune 6-1, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 for a fifth win in six meetings against the Dane. Ruud is the in-form clay court player with 86 wins on the surface since 2020. He will face Zverev in the semi-finals. Thursday’s other semi-final will see Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka tackle unseeded Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic. If Sabalenka makes the final, Swiatek would have to win the title to retain her top ranking.

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