Nadal vs Thiem – French Open – Final
The king and prince of clay will fight it out for the French Open singles title on Sunday. An Austrian (Oliver Marach) already made the finals of the French Open in the doubles category this fortnight but ended up losing to the French pair, Pierre Hughes Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.
Rafael Nadal dropped just seven games against Juan Martin Del Potro in the semifinal to move into the final of the French Open for the second consecutive season, 6-4 6-2 6-1. He is currently on an 11-match winning run on clay and 13-match winning run in this tournament.
World #1 Rafael Nadal, who failed in the quarterfinal stages of the Australian Open earlier this season, has won three titles since the start of the clay season, 11th title at the Monte Carlo Masters and Barcelona and eighth title at the Rome Masters.
Despite being the ten-time champion of the French Open, Rafael Nadal will not be the confident player going into this match considering he is facing the only player who has beaten him on clay in the last two years (Rome Masters 2017 and Madrid Masters 2018).
“On Sunday I have a very difficult match against a player that is playing great. I know I have to play my best if I want to have chances. The good thing is I played a lot of good matches this clay-court season,” – Rafael Nadal ahead of facing Dominic Thiem.
Dominic Thiem posted his career-best grand slam result by securing a hard-fought straight set win over Marco Cecchinato in the semifinal, 7-5 7-6 6-1. His previous best result at this level was reaching the semifinal twice here at Paris, in 2016 and 2017.
On Sunday, Thiem will look to become only the second Austrian player (man or woman) to win a grand slam title. The last player to do it was Thomas Muster in the French Open 1995 when he defeated Michael Chang in the final.
Dominic Thiem, who has beaten Rafael Nadal twice on clay in the last 18 months, said, “I know how to play against him. I have a plan. If I want to beat him, I have to play that way like I did in Rome and in Madrid. But I’m also aware that here it’s tougher. He likes the conditions more here than in Madrid, for sure. Best of five is also a different story.”
Statistically, the Austrian’s best chance of beating Nadal in the French Open is to do it in three or four sets as the Spaniard has never lost a five-setter in Paris. His previous two defeats in this tournament came against Novak Djokovic in 2015 (QF, three sets) and Robin Soderling in 2009 (R16, four sets).
All their previous nine meetings have come on clay with Rafael Nadal winning six of them (6-3). Playing Rafael Nadal on the Parisian clay is the ultimate challenge in this sport, and the Spaniard has got an incredible record of 85-2 in this tournament. However, Dominic Thiem has been playing better tennis this fortnight, and he’s got the potential to make this the toughest French Open final Rafael Nadal has ever played in his career.
Tennis Prediction: Rafael Nadal