French Open Semis Don't Follow Script

Climate change demonstrator breaches court during men's match, and Nadal's opponent has to retire
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 3, 2022 5:02 PM CDT
French Open Semis Don't Go Smoothly
A climate activist is carried off the court after she tied herself to the net during the semifinal match between Croatia's Marin Cilic and Norway's Casper Ruud at the French Open on Friday in Paris.   (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

A climate activist wearing a T-shirt with the message "We have 1028 days left" interrupted the French Open men's semifinal Friday between Marin Cilic and Casper Ruud by attaching herself to the net and kneeling on the court. Play was delayed for more than 10 minutes with Ruud serving in the third set while leading 3-6, 6-4, 4-1, 15-all. Both players left while the protester was carried away by four security guards, the AP reports. Ruud and Cilic returned and were given three minutes to warm up before resuming their match. Play has been interrupted in past years at Court Philippe Chatrier, as well. During the 2013 men's final, a shirtless man carrying a fiery flare jumped onto the court. In the 2009 final, a man went up to Roger Federer and tried to put a hat on his head. In the 2003 final, a male streaker hurdled the net.

Ruud won the match 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 and will face 13-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal in Sunday's final. Ruud is the first Norwegian man to reach a Grand Slam singles final, per the AP. Nadal's semifinal victory Friday was out of the norm, as well. His opponent, Alexander Zverev, fell during a point three hours into the match, injured his right ankle, and immediately screamed in pain. He left the court in a wheelchair. When he returned several minutes later, using crutches, Zverev said he had to retire from the match. Nadal had won the first set 7-6 (8), and the second set also was headed to a tiebreaker when Zverev was injured.

On the women's side, Iga Swiatek of Poland will face 18-year-old American Coco Gauff in the singles final Saturday. "She's definitely the favorite going into the match, on paper," Gauff said of Swiatek, who's ranked No. 1. Gauff, who hasn't dropped a set in the past two weeks, per ESPN, will be the youngest US woman in a major final since Serena Williams in the 1999 US Open, when she was 17. (More French Open stories.)

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