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09 Jun 2018 by Trystan Pugh

French Open 2018 – Rafael Nadal vs Dominic Thiem Preview

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AT A GLANCE

Where is Rafael Nadal vs Dominic Thiem taking place? Court Philippe Chatrier, Roland-Garros, Paris

When is Rafael Nadal vs Dominic Thiem on and what time does it start? Sunday 10th June, 2018 - (not before) 14:00 (UK)

What channel is Rafael Nadal vs Dominic Thiem on? ITV4 and Eurosport 1/2 (UK)

Where can I stream Rafael Nadal vs Dominic Thiem? The match can be streamed free via the ITV Player or those with a relevant subscription can stream the match via the Eurosport Player

Where can I get tickets for Rafael Nadal vs Dominic Thiem? https://tickets.rolandgarros.com/en/home

THE LOWDOWN

RAFAEL NADAL

  • It is of course no surprise to see ten-time Roland-Garros champion Nadal in the final. The Spaniard successfully navigated what was potentially a tricky semi-final against big-hitting Juan Martin del Potro on Friday, taking a tough first set 6-4 before streaking away with the second and third.
  • Given his pedigree on this surface and at this tournament especially, Nadal is undoubtedly the favourite but he will be all too aware of his opponent's credentials on clay having lost to him as recently as last month in Madrid.
  • Althought that loss may cause one or two doubts in Nadal's mind, he has beaten Thiem in straight sets on both occasions they have faced each other at the French Open, most recently in last year's semi-final.

DOMINIC THIEM

  • After knocking on the door by reaching the last four in 2016 and 2017, Thiem made it through to his first Grand Slam final following a straight sets victory over surprise-package Marco Cecchinato in Friday's semi-final.
  • Many see Thiem as Nadal's successor on this surface and he certainly has the tools to spring a surprise; he is one of only three men to have beaten Nadal at least three times on clay, and is responsible for the Spaniard's last two losses on the surface.
  • Thiem will have noted that Nadal has been a little slow out of the traps in both his quarter-final and semi-final, so it is imperative that the Austrian starts well. Once Nadal gets ahead, he grows with confidence so the first set will be key.

THE STATISTICS

THE PREDICTION

Although a Nadal - Djokovic final would have made headlines, this is the climax that tennis purists would have hoped for before the tournament began. Thiem has been the second best player on clay for some time now and is the player most likely to dethrone Rafa at the tournament he has dominated for so long. Is it too soon for the Austrian though? Although he has proven he can beat anyone on the surface, the Philippe Chatrier court is hallowed ground for Nadal, and it is impossible to ignore the fact that he has won all ten finals he has contested at the French Open.

Curiously, all nine of the pair's previous matches have been on clay, so they know each other's game well and that should make for a competitive, compelling final. The edge has to go to Rafa though as, has been quoted in the press this past week, beating Nadal on clay over a five-set match is the toughest challenge in sport, let alone tennis.

Nadal to win in four sets.

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