Alex de Minaur’s exciting run at French Open ended by Alexander Zverev | Alexander Zverev

Alex de Minaur’s thrilling run to the quarter-finals of the French Open came to a difficult end on Wednesday night as the 11th seed was outlasted by Alexander Zverev, the fourth seed, who returned to the semi-finals with a 6-4, 7-6 (5), 6-3 win.

Zverev’s victory sets up a semi-final with Casper Ruud. Ruud was due to face Novak Djokovic on Wednesday, but he advanced to the semi-finals after Djokovic’s withdrawal from the tournament due to a torn medial meniscus sustained during his fourth-round win over Francisco Cerúndolo.

This semi-final is a rematch of last year’s final four meeting, which Ruud won 6-3, 6-4, 6-0. The Norwegian will be looking for a third consecutive final at Roland Garros on Friday.

Zverev continues to advance here while his lawyers are in court for his ongoing public trial for allegedly physically abusing his ex-girlfriend, Brenda Patea, in Berlin. During the trial’s opening day on Friday, the court was told that Zverev allegedly pushed Patea against a wall and strangled her with both hands. Zverev has always denied the allegations.

A request from Zverev’s lawyers for Patea’s witness testimony to be heard behind closed doors was granted on Monday morning without any opposition from Patea’s lawyers. The trial will continue on Friday, the same day Zverev will face Ruud.

Since the conclusion of its independent safeguarding report in 2021, the ATP has still not announced any domestic violence policy. At the beginning of Roland Garros, the tournament director, Amélie Mauresmo, said Zverev would be allowed to compete as long as no decision had been made in his trial, which will continue until July. “So far, our policy is that, as long as the trial isn’t finished and there isn’t a decision, he’s considered innocent and so that’s why he’s allowed to be part of the draw,” said Mauresmo.

De Minaur entered Court Philippe-Chatrier with an extremely difficult task against an opponent he trailed 2-7 in their head-to-head, with Zverev’s game proving a difficult match-up over the years. Still, the 25-year-old had his chances throughout the second set.

Alex de Minaur will head to the grass court season full of confidence after confirming he is on the right track. Photograph: Mateo Villalba/Getty Images

While Zverev served well and sat deep behind the baseline, initiating long rallies and patiently waiting for De Minaur to miss, the Australian tried hard to take the ball early and dictate the baseline rallies.

In the tie-break, De Minaur burst out of the blocks, rolling through the opening exchanges to take a 4-0 lead. Even after Zverev pulled him back to 5-5, the Australian had an enormous opportunity in the breathless 39-stroke rally that followed. After pulling Zverev to the net against his will, De Minaur directed his passing shot straight towards the German rather than angling it cross-court past him. Zverev ultimately won seven of the final eight points to take the set and, with a two sets lead, he eased to victory.

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Despite the defeat, this has been an incredible tournament for De Minaur and further confirmation he is on the right path. This year the Australian has broken into the top 10 and has played more proactive, attacking tennis to battle with the best players in the world.

Four years after reaching his first grand slam quarter-final at the 2020 US Open, though, he was still searching for another deep run in a big tournament to match his performances elsewhere. It has unexpectedly come at his least successful grand slam and on his least favourite surface.

Having never previously passed the second round, De Minaur will leave Paris after producing his best clay court season. He will head to the grass season, his favourite surface, full of confidence.

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