Zverev rolled into the semifinals by beating unseeded Argentine Tomas Martin Etcheverry 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 a year after leaving the Grand Slam in a wheelchair.
The fourth-seeded Ruud battled past 20-year-old Holger Rune of Denmark for the second consecutive year with a 6-1, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 victory.
Zverev was in excruciating pain last year after suffering a serious ankle injury during his Roland Garros semifinal against Rafael Nadal and had surgery to repair his ligaments. The German’s return was further delayed in September due to a bone edema issue, and he only began playing pain-free earlier this season.
Zverev showed glimpses of his peak form on Wednesday and the 22nd seed said the agony of last year was not on his mind anymore.
“I don’t think about it. I’m going on court to win tennis matches. I’m not thinking about what happened last year. I have to talk about it a lot obviously, that’s fine,” Zverev said.
“That’s everybody’s job, but I’m here to win tennis matches. I’m here to go deep in a Grand Slam. Grand Slams are tennis history. That’s what you play for. I think the two most important things in tennis are Grand Slams and the Olympic Games.”
Ruud and Rune had met at the same stage in a bad-tempered match in 2022 with Ruud emerging victorious in four sets before falling in the final to Nadal.
While this year’s Scandinavian clash lacked the vitriol, it was equally captivating even though it looked one-sided at the start.
The sixth-seeded Rune, who had beaten Ruud at the Italian Open last month, littered the court with 26 unforced errors in the first two sets.
It was all business for Ruud, who broke the young Dane in the second game to go 3-0 up.
It got even worse for Rune when two consecutive double faults and a forehand into the net gave Ruud another break to go 5-1 up before he sealed the first set a game later.
Rune sank an easy smash into the net to drop serve in the very first game of the second set.
His opponent was a model of consistency early on, keeping unforced errors to a minimum and forcing his younger rival to make them instead.
Another easy forehand into the net by Rune gave Ruud a 4-1 lead before he quickly moved two sets up.
The Dane, however, was not done yet, snatching his very first break at the start of the third to turn the tables.
With loud screams and shouts of “come on” after every single winning point, Rune clinched the third set, having added considerable power to his baseline game.
But the Norwegian recovered and got his revenge with an early break in the fourth set, moving 4-1 clear. Another Rune double fault gave Ruud his first match point at 5-2. He missed another before sealing it on his serve with his fifth opportunity.
Reuters contributed to this report.
Alexander Zverev, Casper Ruud advance to French Open semifinals