Rafael Nadal through to final after injury robs Alexander Zverev of his shot

French Open
Alexander Zverev after his injury

Alexander Zverev saw his chances of being crowned the new World No 1 in the coming weeks go up in smoke thanks to an injury that forced him to hand Rafael Nadal a spot in the final.

The pair engaged in an enthralling battle for the first set which Nadal eventually snatched at 10-8 in the tiebreaker.

In the second it appeared that we were headed for another tiebreaker but Zverev sustained an injury that forced him to retire due to at 7-6(8), 6-6 in what had promised to be a cracking match.

Zverev was out to become just the second German man to reach the Roland Garros final in the Open Era, joining 1996 runner-up Michael Stich.

Nadal had rallied from a break down in the first set to take the initiative.

He overcame an early siege from Zverev’s big guns; hanging on in points and somehow finding greater depth and weight on his groundstrokes.

Nadal saved four set points in the tie-break and battled back from 2/6 down to clinch a marathon first set after one hour and 31 minutes.

The 21-time Grand Slam titlist showcased his fighting qualities in the second set, again rallying from a deficit.

This time Nadal slipped to 3-5 down in the second before mounting a resurgence to force what would have been another tie-break.

However, Zverev could not continue after suffering a catastrophic injury to his ankle in the last point of the 11th game of the second set.

Following an extended medical break, the 25-year-old returned to court on crutches, before he hugged the Nadal and left the court to a standing ovation.

Nadal will be aiming to capture a 14th Roland Garros crown and record-extending 22nd Grand Slam title this Sunday.

If Nadal overcomes either Casper Ruud or Marin Cilic in the Roland Garros final on Sunday it will see him break a longstanding record held by countryman Andres Gimeno.

He stands to become the oldest men’s singles champion in the tournament’s history.

The World No 5 vanquished long-time rival Novak Djokovic in a 4-hour, 10-minute quarter-final epic that saw him improve to 29-30 in their head to head series and set up what was the 10th meeting with Zverev.