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French Open 2021: Men's Final Start Time, Schedule, Prediction and Prize Money

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 13, 2021

Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts as he defeats Spain's Rafael Nadal during their semifinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Friday, June 11, 2021 in Paris. Novak Djokovic won 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-2. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
Michel Euler/Associated Press

Novak Djokovic's path to his 19th career Grand Slam title goes through a first-time major finalist.

The top-seeded Djokovic faces Stefanos Tsitsipas in the 2021 French Open men's singles final on Sunday.

Djokovic won a semifinal match against Rafael Nadal that felt like a final Friday, while Tsitsipas needed five sets to get past Alexander Zverev.

The Serb should have the advantage over the No. 5 seed, as he is the better clay-court player and owns a 5-2 head-to-head record over the Greek.

If Djokovic improves on his record against Tsitsipas, he will move to one major championship behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on the men's all-time list.

                

French Open Men's Final Info

Date: Sunday, June 13

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Start Time: 9 a.m. ET 

TV: NBC

Live Stream: NBCSports app or NBCSports.com

Prize Money: $1.69 million to the winner.

            

Prediction

Novak Djokovic over Stefanos Tsitsipas

Since 2017, Djokovic, Federer and Nadal won 15 of the 16 Grand Slams that were played.

Dominic Thiem was the only player to break that streak at the 2020 U.S. Open. Djokovic was disqualified from the event, and neither Federer nor Nadal participated.

That means no member of the younger generation of stars has defeated one of the Big Three in a major final. And it is still hard to see Tsitsipas, Zverev, Thiem or Daniil Medvedev winning a Grand Slam in that fashion.

Djokovic proved that again at the 2021 Australian Open, when he cruised past Medvedev in straight sets to set up a potential run at the season-long Grand Slam.

The Serb has a 5-2 overall record against Tsitsipas and won each of their past four meetings, including their lone major showdown at the 2020 French Open.

Tsitsipas should have a bit of confidence going into the match since he took two sets off Djokovic in last year's semifinal at Roland-Garros and won the first set of their match on the Rome clay in May.

Despite those small victories, the fifth-seeded Greek was unable to close out Djokovic. He lost two straight sets in Rome and fell 6-1 in the final set in 2020 at Roland-Garros.

The inability to close out Djokovic in recent matches and Tsitsipas' inexperience in a Grand Slam final could go against him Sunday.

Tsitsipas needs to have a strong start to avoid a straight-sets loss or a quick defeat in which he only takes one set.

The 22-year-old produced a fast start in the semifinals against Zverev, but he was forced to go the distance to advance. If Tsitsipas is unable to close at any point of the match, Djokovic should flip the momentum right back in his favor.

Even though Djokovic has 18 Grand Slam titles, he should have plenty of hunger to capture the title on the Paris clay.

Djokovic finally ended Nadal's dominant streak at Roland-Garros (he's won every men's tournament there since 2017 and 13 in total) and has a chance to win his second title in Paris. He captured the 2016 crown in a four-set final over Andy Murray.

With a win, Djokovic will put himself into position to eclipse Federer and Nadal on the men's all-time Grand Slam win chart by the end of the season.

A French Open title would put him at 19, and he should be the favorite at Wimbledon later in the summer. The same could be said about the U.S. Open, where he would be seeded higher than Nadal. Federer may not win a major in 2020 because of the knee issues he is going through.

                     

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

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