Roland Garros: 5 things we learned on Day 13 - Rafa gets lucky and Ruud is good

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Rafael Nadal moved into a 14th French Open final after a lucky escape against Alexander Zverev who was injured during their semi-final. In the Day 15 showdown, Nadal will play Casper Ruud - another paid-up member of the Nadal fan club. But here's a thing, Rafa's a huge fan of the entire Ruud brood.

Talent and luck

The roof was closed for the semi-final between fifth seed Rafael Nadal and the third seed Alexander Zverev. This made the conditions on Court Philippe Chatrier humid and the ball heavy. Nadal admitted he couldn't generate enough of his vicious spin to inflict any damage on Zverev who was pushing the 13-time champion all around the court. Nadal saved four set points to take the first set in the tiebreak. He claimed the match when Zverev twisted his ankle during the second set. A very lucky man.

Environmental action

It wasn't only Rafael Nadal complaining about the conditions on Court Philippe Chatrier. During the third set of the semi-final between Marin Cilic and Casper Ruud, a woman slipped through the putative security cordon and slickly chained herself to the net just by the Renault logos. No, she wasn't paid by the car firm to underline their new sponsorship deal with the tennis federation. She was clad in jeans and a white T-shirt with the slogan: "We have 1028 Days Left". It was to highlight the approaching environmental meltdown. While a phalanx of burly security chaps hovered around her, some more of their brethren surrounded the players. Cilic, at 1m 98, looked like he could take care of himself anyway. But yes, it's the thought that counts. Though we at the review wondered how much trust you can place in a gang who has let someone get onto the court. No wonder they took the players off into the locker rooms before four of the chunky guys carried the lady away.

Northern lights

There in Casper Ruud's box on Court Philippe Chatrier were a couple of lads who we thought were also making a statement for the environment. They were wearing baseball caps bearing the logo: "Arctic". Nothing of the sort. It's a Norway-based provider of financial services which has been sponsoring young Ruud since 2016. Oh well. If you are concerned the review is dancing with Mammon. Why not? There are only 1028 days left.

Would you believe it

And on one of those 1028 days remaining we can tell the story of how in 2018 a Norwegian teenager went to the Rafael Nadal academy in Mallorca, installed himself on to the ATP circuit and will play Senor Nadal in Sunday's French Open men's singles final. "It's special that a student from the academy will play Rafa in the final," said Casper Ruud after his four-set win over Marin Cilic. "It will be fun." If he is a righty Rafa - as Cilic described him - we could be in for one big show. Ruud did reveal that he'd played a couple of close sets with the master during his time at the academy. "He won," recalled the apprentice. "There was a 7-6 and a 7-5 ... it's his academy. I have to let him win to show that I'm a good guest." Nice.

Win, win

So it's effectively a 14th title for Rafael Nadal on Day 15. Lose to an academy student and it's a legacy victory. Ruud spoke about his adoration for Nadal during his ovation to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga back on Day 3. And on reaching his first final at a Grand Slam tournament, he waxed lyrical about Nadal. "I used to cry too much on court and was negative but I got better ... I matured. I was looking up to Rafa. He was the perfect example of how to behave on court: never give up and never complain. He's been my idol all my life."

Rafa rates Ruud

"Well, I have a huge respect for him," said Nadal of Ruud. "He has a great character. He's a great guy and he has a great family. That's the main thing." And Rafa added: "As a player, of course, I respect him a lot. He did a lot of great things the last couple of years. I'm happy for him. I'm happy for his mom, dad. I know them very well. They are a super-healthy family and great people. As always, I am super happy when I see these great people having success." Dinner at yours, then.

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