Not many tennis players can say they have beaten Rafael Nadal on clay. However, Dominic Thiem can.
In fact, Thiem beat Nadal on clay as recently as April, when the Austrian defeated the Spaniard in the Barcelona Open semifinals. Thiem won that match 6-4, 6-4, and he will look to carry over that momentum into Sunday's matchup against Nadal in the French Open men's singles final.
Although Thiem won his most recent meeting with Nadal, he trails in the all-time series 8-4. At last year's French Open, Nadal defeated Thiem in the final in straight sets. He also beat Thiem at Roland-Garros in both 2014 and 2017.
Not only did Thiem beat Nadal on clay earlier this year, but he also owns three other wins over him on the surface. All but one of their 12 previous head-to-head matchups have been on clay. Nadal beat Thiem in five sets on hard surface in the 2018 U.S. Open quarterfinals.
As the action winds down at Roland-Garros, here's everything you need to know heading into Sunday's contest between Nadal and Thiem.
Men's Final Information
Date: Sunday, June 9
Time: 9 a.m. ET
TV: Tennis Channel (Replays at 2 p.m. ET, 6 p.m. ET, 2 a.m. ET on Monday)
Live Stream: Tennis Channel Everywhere
Beginning with Thiem's first clay victory over Nadal in 2016, Nadal has lost only nine matches on the surface, and four have been against Thiem. No other player has defeated Nadal more than once on clay during that span.
So if there's anybody who could take down Nadal at the French Open, it's Thiem.
Nadal is looking to win his third straight French Open championship and his 12th in the past 15 years. Eleven of his 17 Grand Slam championships have come at Roland-Garros, and no other men's singles player has won the French Open title more than six times.
And just because Nadal is now 33 doesn't mean he's slowing down. He's had an impressive showing at this year's French Open, winning five of his six matches in straight sets, including his semifinal matchup against longtime rival Roger Federer.
The only set Nadal has lost at Roland-Garros this year came in the third round, against No. 27-ranked David Goffin.
"Always, to play Rafa here on this court, is always the ultimate challenge, one of the toughest challenges in sports in general," Thiem said, according to ESPN.com's Simon Cambers. He continued:
"I played a really good match against him in Barcelona. It was six weeks ago. So, of course, I try to do similar, even though it's way tougher to play him here. But I try to keep all the positive emotions I'm having from this amazing match today, and go with a really positive mind into the match tomorrow, and then we'll see."
Thiem has a chance to do something historic. According to the ATP Tour, he is looking to become the ninth man to the defeat the two top-ranked players in the world in the same major tournament. Thiem bested No. 1 Novak Djokovic in five sets in the semifinals.
Nadal and Thiem are ranked Nos. 2 and 4 in the world, respectively, and the duo should provide an exciting conclusion to the French Open with a competitive final match.