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Mens Singles, Final
Rafael Nadal won in 3 sets
The French Open final we wanted has materialised, with Rafael Nadal taking on Dominic Thiem. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 11pm (AEST).
While the undisputed king of clay is shooting for his 11th title at Roland Garros, Nadal has had problems in three-set tennis against Thiem in the last 24 months.
They have played twice at the grand slam, with Nadal winning both of those matches, but the only matches Nadal has lost on clay in the last two years have come against Thiem.
The Austrian beat the world No.1 in Rome during 2017 and, more importantly, in Nadal’s home country at Madrid a handful of weeks ago.
Given Nadal’s impeccable record on clay during that time period, the same player beating him twice is unprecedented. Thiem also has a win from 2016 in Buenos Aires, making him only one of two players to beat Nadal three times across a career.
It shows the Spaniard’s dominance on clay though, with Thiem still being right up against it in the final.
Nadal has breezed through the French Open, but did drop a set in the quarter-final against Diego Schwartzman. He also had to save six break points during the first set of the semi-final against Juan Martin Del Potro.
His calmness in doing so suggests Nadal is right at the top of his game, but the power game of Del Potro is similar to the slapping backhand of Thiem, who will look to steer the ball away from Nadal’s forehand. If he can do that consistently and capitalise on opportunities, then there is no reason he can’t do to Nadal what he has done previously.
Thiem showed that power during his semi-final against Marco Cecchinato, which ended in a straight-set beatdown, but posed as a great workout ahead of the final. Given Thiem has also got the better of Alexander Zverev and Kei Nishikori during the tournament, there is no question he deserves his spot in the big dance.
Nadal should win, but this might be one of the tougher grand slam titles he has ever earned. We know Thiem can go with Nadal for three sets, expect him to drag this the distance.
Nadal in five sets.
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