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French Open 2019 Schedule, Live Stream and Prediction for Men's Final

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 9, 2019

Spain's Rafael Nadal serves against Switzerland's Roger Federer during their semifinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Friday, June 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Christophe Ena/Associated Press

One of the most accomplished players in men's tennis history squares off against a challenger hungry for his first major crown in the 2019 French Open men's singles final on Sunday.

The championship match at Roland-Garros pits No. 2 Rafael Nadal against No. 4 Dominic Thiem in a rematch of the 2018 final.

Nadal is the undisputed king of the clay court, as he has won 11 of his 17 Grand Slam titles at Roland-Garros.

Thiem has put together plenty of impressive results on the ATP Tour, but he still looking for his first breakthrough at a major tournament, with Sunday being just his second Grand Slam final.

                          

French Open Men's Singles Final Information

Start Time: 9 a.m. ET 

TV: NBC 

Live Stream: NBC Sports app 

                     

Prediction

Nadal over Thiem in 4 Sets

Nadal enters Sunday's final with the obvious advantage in Grand Slam final experience.

The left-handed Spaniard is 17-8 in Grand Slam finals, and he has not lost in the championship match at Roland-Garros.

Nadal is 8-4 in his career against Thiem, and he has been in remarkable form at Roland-Garros, which he pointed out to the ATP Tour's website.

Michel Euler/Associated Press

"Being in the final of Roland-Garros again means a lot, and especially coming back from a tough situation with all the injuries that I had," Nadal said. "Being able to recover the level that I had the past couple of weeks is something that I am very proud of. I'm just focused on keeping going and doing my thing well."

Thiem admitted after his semifinal win over Novak Djokovic that facing Nadal again in the French Open final will be a challenge, per ATP Tour's website.

"To play Rafa here on this court is always the ultimate challenge, one of the toughest challenges in sports," the Austrian said. "I think it's really important that I go into the match with the belief to win. That's the most important thing. It's a big dream for me to win this match, to win this title."

In order for Thiem to pose a threat to Nadal, he has to find a way to break the Spaniard in one of the opening games of the first set.

In his semifinal victory over Novak Djokovic, Thiem converted on nine of the 22 break points he earned.

Christophe Ena/Associated Press

Thiem likely will not receive that many break-point opportunities Sunday, but if he can create a chance or two for himself on Nadal's serve, he could take advantage of the moment.

When Thiem beat Nadal earlier this season in Barcelona, he earned 12 break points but only converted on two of them.

Nadal is likely to be much sharper on his serve Sunday than he was in Barcelona. The second-seeded Spaniard is coming off a win over Roger Federer in which he recorded a first-serve percentage of 81 and conceded just four break-point opportunities.

In 17 matches on clay this season, Nadal has won 139 of his 165 games, which suggests there will only be a small window for Thiem to take advantage of if the defending champion slips up.

What has to be most concerning for Thiem is Nadal has converted on 68 of his 149 break-point opportunities on clay (45.6 percent), while the Austrian has capitalized on 40.6 percent of his.

If Nadal is more efficient on break points, he could make quick work of Thiem for the second straight year.

Thiem will put up a better fight than a year ago because of his overall form and the win he earned over Nadal in Barcelona.

However, Roland-Garros belongs to Nadal, and until someone proves the Spaniard can be defeated on the French clay, it is hard to pick against him.

                          

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