Rafael Nadal vs. Dominic Thiem: Career Stats and Prediction for 2019 Men's Final

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 9, 2019

Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his semifinal match of the French Open tennis tournament against Switzerland's Roger Federer in three sets, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2, at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Friday, June 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Christophe Ena/Associated Press

For the second straight year, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem will meet in the French Open men's singles final.

A year ago, Nadal earned his 11th French Open title by defeating the Austrian in straight sets.

Sunday will mark the fourth meeting between Nadal and Thiem at Roland-Garros. Nadal has won each of those matches in straight sets.

Thiem faces a difficult task against one of the best men's singles players in the history of the sport, but he was able to produce a victory in his most recent meeting with the Spaniard at the Barcelona Open in April.

                      

Career Stats

Only Roger Federer has more Grand Slam championships than Nadal.

Nadal can move to within two of Federer on the all-time chart with his 18th major title Sunday at Roland-Garros.

Eleven of Nadal's 17 championships have come at the French Open, where he has put together winning streaks of five and four years.

Pavel Golovkin/Associated Press

A victory over Thiem on Sunday would extend Nadal's existing winning streak at Roland-Garros to three tournaments.

Thiem will be participating in just his second major final, as he has been part of a generation of players that has not been able to crack the dominance of Nadal, Federer and Novak Djokovic.

If Thiem secures his first major title Sunday, he would be just the sixth different player to win a major title since the start of the 2015 season.

Nadal is 8-4 all-time against Thiem, with four of those victories coming in major tournaments, including three at the French Open.

If there is any good news for Thiem, it is that he beat Nadal on the clay at Barcelona at the beginning of the clay court season.

In fact, all four of Thiem's victories over Nadal have come on clay.

                         

Prediction

Nadal over Thiem in 4 Sets

Even though Thiem has a good track record in recent years against Nadal, he still has not defeated him at Roland-Garros.

Nadal has been a total machine throughout the tournament, and nothing less from him should be expected Sunday.

The Spaniard has taken all but one of his matches by straight sets, but Thiem can stand out as an exception to the trend and won't lose in three sets to Nadal for the second consecutive year.

Thiem must be at his best to even take a set from Nadal, but he proved in his semifinal win over Djokovic that he has plenty of resiliency on court.

Michel Euler/Associated Press

However, Nadal is the fresher of the two players thanks to his quick work during the tournament and the extended semifinal Thiem had to finish Saturday.

Most major tournaments are two-week grinds that can do damage on a player's body, and Thiem will start to tire after dealing with the emotional and physical demands of beating Djokovic in five sets over two days.

The combination of Thiem's fatigue and Nadal's relentlessness on serve should produce a similar result to a year ago.

If Thiem pushes Nadal to a fourth set, he would join some elite company, as Federer, Djokovic and Mariano Puerta are the only players to push Nadal past a third set in French Open finals he has won.

                               

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

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