Casper Ruud
Casper Ruud will try to advance to his third French Open final when he faces off against Alexander Zverev. | @casperruud
One semifinal sees repeat attendees trying to grab their first Slam, and the other only features the most important rivalry for the next fifteen years of the sport.

For the first time in twenty years, a men’s Grand Slam semifinal will not feature any of the Big 3: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, or Novak Djokovic.

Twenty years. 80 Grand Slams.

Not only that, but Djokovic’s withdrawal in the quarterfinals due to a torn meniscus guarantees that Jannik Sinner will officially become the new world No. 1 next week, regardless of how this tournament ends.

The faces are changing, but the quality at the top isn’t. This year’s semifinals feature the 1, 2, 4, and 7 seeds. Grand Slams are best when the heavyweights collide, and we’ve got some doozies this year.

Let the legacy-building begin for this new generation of superstars.

(7) Casper Ruud vs. (4) Alexander Zverev

He’s back again.

Who’s back?


You mean Zverev?

Oh, dang, he’s back, too.

They’re both back. Again and again and again.

Casper Ruud is in his third straight French Open semifinals.

Alexander Zverev is in his fourth straight.

The difference: Ruud was in the last two finals as well, currently aiming for his third. Zverev has yet to make the finals.

This is a rematch of their semifinal clash here last year, which Ruud won 6-3, 6-4, 6-0.

Take a moment to appreciate what these two have done here. It ain’t easy.

But this is 2024, and the landscape is a little different. That landscape no longer includes Nadal or Djokovic, the thorns in everyone’s side at this stage of Grand Slams.

Zverev already reconciled his retirement loss to Nadal in 2022 by unceremoniously defeating Rafa in the first round. Roland Garros mourned and moved on.

Sascha’s draw has been incredibly difficult. Nadal, Goffin, (26) Griekspoor, (13) Rune, (11) de Minaur, and now (7) Ruud. He needed five sets to survive both Griekspoor and Rune.

That’s a wildly difficult lineup of players to get through.

Ever since he went down with that ankle injury here two years ago, he has been laser-focused on getting back to this level. He’s playing as well as he ever has, if not better, and has a recent Masters 1000 title in Rome filling his sails.

His human opponent will be Ruud, yes, but his other opponent is the proverbial “hump.” Can he get over it?

Watching Zverev play, it boggles the mind that he isn’t already a multiple Slam winner. This is his seventh appearance in a major semifinal, but he has only advanced to one final, the 2020 U.S. Open where he fell to Dominic Thiem in a fifth-set tiebreaker after leading two sets to none.

His self-belief, due to rigorous self-work, is at an all-time high. He’ll need it against Casper Ruud, who has turned a corner of his own.

This season, Ruud decided good was no longer good enough. He’s ready for his piece of the pie. He’s going for more, playing more aggressively, and setting higher expectations for himself. The proof is in the pudding, as he has the best record on clay this year by a significant margin.

He is undefeated in Grand Slam semifinals as he heads into his fourth one. Stagefright won’t be an issue.

Both men have unfinished business. Both men are worthy of Grand Slam trophies, but have yet to claim one.

Can Zverev get avenge last year’s semifinal loss to Ruud, or has Ruud decided he’s returning to a third straight final to finish it off this time, no matter who’s in his way?

Winner: Casper Ruud

(3) Carlos Alcaraz vs. (2) Jannik Sinner

The future is now.

Carlos Alcaraz has been destined for Grand Slam glory for several years. He was the first person in the next generation to bridge the gap between old and new—beginning when he won the U.S. Open in 2022 to claim his first major and the number one ranking (with an asterisk) and again when he bested Djokovic at Wimbledon last year.

Everyone saw the future, and the future was Carlitos.

Then one of his childhood rivals stood tall and decided to claim his seat at the table.

Out of nowhere last fall, Jannik Sinner took over men’s tennis. Winning the Australian Open in January upped his street cred to 11. He is hands down the best player in the world right now, a truth no one on tour disputes.

Both young men are Grand Slam winners, and both have now reached the top of the rankings.

For the foreseeable future, these two are the standard everyone else will measure themselves against. Holger Rune is pegged to be the third offspring of that generation to form a new Big Three in the image of Fed, Rafa, and Nole. But so far the feisty Dane hasn’t cracked the code.

Alcaraz and Sinner have a 4-4 head-to-head record. Every meeting brings fireworks. But now things are different.

Previous matchups have been fun because they almost felt like exhibitions. The weight of the sport was still on the Big Three.

Not anymore.

Starting now, with this semifinal, each matchup between these two will have historical implications, and they know it.

They will tussle over Grand Slams, Masters 1000s, and the number one ranking for the next fifteen years. This feels like year one.

It almost feels like match one.

It’s good that their head-to-head is even going into this semi, because this marks the moment where the stakes are raised, so it’s only fair they begin on even footing.

Settle in and save your newspaper clippings, this is a matchup you’ll want to remember watching.

Winner: Jannik Sinner