World No. 8 Casper Ruud became the very first Norwegian to reach a Grand Slam final, aged 23, by dominating Croatian Marin Cilic at Roland-Garros, former world No. 3 today 23rd, 3- 6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 Friday, June 3, evening. He will challenge Rafael Nadal, thirteen times winner on Parisian clay, Sunday, June 5. The Spaniard, who turned 36 on Friday, qualified after current world No. 3 Alexander Zverev retired after twisting his right ankle in the middle of a match earlier in the day.

“I admire Rafa, he is the perfect example of how you should behave on the court: never give up, and never complain. It’s always been my idol,” smiled Ruud. ” It’s extraordinary. He’s the last member of the Big 3 that I haven’t faced yet, it was worth the wait, in the Grand Slam final, it’s the perfect timing, it will be a special moment for me. he added.

In the third set, at 4-1 in favor of Ruud, the match was interrupted about fifteen minutes after the intrusion of a woman claiming to be from an organization for the defense of the climate, who attached herself to the net before being evacuated by security guards. Both players were briefly sent back to the locker room.

Before that, Ruud had already taken control of the match after giving up the first set to the winner of the US Open 2014. He was not destabilized by this incident. Before this 2022 edition of Roland-Garros, the Scandinavian had never passed the round of 16 in a Grand Slam.

The native of Oslo, former world No. 1 junior, is a regular at tennis firsts in his country: first Norwegian to break into the top 10 (in April), first to win an ATP title, first to reach a Masters 1000 final (Miami in early April) and first to qualify for the season-ending Masters (2021). Clay is his preferred surface: since 2020, he is the player who has won the most matches (65) and the most titles (7) there. With his first major final, Ruud is already guaranteed to climb to the best ranking of his career next week, at sixth place in the world.