French Open 2019 Men's Final: Rafael Nadal vs. Dominic Thiem Predictions

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 8, 2019

Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning after Switzerland's Roger Federer's ball went out, rear left, during their semifinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Friday, June 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
Michel Euler/Associated Press

The king of the clay at Roland-Garros, Rafael Nadal, will be going after his 12th French Open title in Sunday's men's singles final.

No. 2 seed Nadal has won seven of the past nine French Open men's titles, and he is in great position to win his third championship in a row.

Nadal cruised past No. 3 Roger Federer in the semifinals Friday before poor conditions took over Roland-Garros.

After a pair of weather delays extended the second semifinal into Saturday, No. 4 Dominic Thiem survived a five-set match with No. 1 Novak Djokovic to set up a rematch of last year's French Open final.



Nadal over Thiem in 4 Sets 

It is going to take a massive effort in order for Thiem to overcome Nadal and all of the success the Spaniard has had on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

On his path to the final, Nadal lost just a single set, which came in the third round to David Goffin.

Nadal made Federer and Kei Nishikori look average players in respective straight-sets victories in the semifinals and quarterfinals, and he reeled off three three-set wins to open the tournament.

Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

In his past four French Open finals, Nadal has won 12 of the 13 sets against four opponents, including his three-set win over Thiem a year ago.

Although plenty of factors seem to be going against Thiem, including the lack of rest he will have after finishing his semifinal Saturday afternoon, he was able to beat Nadal on the clay court in Barcelona earlier this season.

But Nadal is a much tougher player to beat at Roland Garros, and it does not help Thiem that he is dealing with a quick turnaround.

Nadal is 8-4 in 12 meetings with Thiem, but the Austrian has won two of their past three contests on clay.

Because Thiem has given Nadal such a difficult time in recent matches on clay, he will be able to take at least one set from the Spaniard.

Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

However, Thiem's lack of experience in Grand Slam finals could be his downfall Sunday in Paris.

Although he has been one of the top players on tour in recent years, Thiem has been unable to break through in majors while Nadal, Federer and Djokovic continue to dominate.

With only one Grand Slam final appearance to his name, Thiem could feel the pressure of the moment and succumb to it against a player who should remain calm since he is used to the moment.

The counterargument is Thiem weathered the storm of pressure Djokovic created in the fifth set Saturday and pushed through despite failing to hold serve.

But losing service games will not help Thiem against Nadal, who won six break points and only conceded four to Federer in the semifinals.

On the other hand, Djokovic forced 12 break points against Thiem and won seven of them. If the number of break points on Thiem's serve is anywhere close to the semifinal number, Nadal could make quick work of the final.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90Statistics obtained from ATPTour.com and RolandGarros.com.