The 2019 men’s French Open singles final will take place on Sunday 9th June in Paris. The match will be played on the Philippe-Chatrier court at Roland Garros between Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem. It is a repeat of the 2018 final, which Nadal won in straight sets. Can the Austrian put up more of a fight this year?
Repeat Final Not a Surprise
To see the same two players contest the final again in 2019 does not come as a big surprise. When the seeding was announced and Nadal was named the second seed and Thiem the fourth seed, there was always a good chance they were going to meet again in the showpiece occasion.
Nadal and Thiem are the two players on the ATP Tour who would say they genuinely enjoy playing on clay. Both have won tournaments on this surface in 2019 prior to the start of the French Open. Nadal won the Italian Open in Rome while Thiem tasted success in the Barcelona Open, defeating Nadal in the semi-final.
In many ways, you could say this is the perfect final and Thiem will be hoping he can gain revenge for his defeat in 2018.
Nadal Road to the Final
Rafael Nadal started his 2019 French Open campaign with a comfortable three sets win over German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann. The Spaniard met another qualifier in the second round and again had little trouble overcoming his opponent. Nadal won the match in three sets, rarely having to get out of first gear.
That changed in the third round and Nadal faced David Goffin. The Belgian found himself 2-0 down and was seemingly out of it but came back to win the third set 6-4 and take Nadal into a fourth set for the first time in the tournament. However, Nadal stepped it up again and came through to win the set 6-3 and claim the match.
It was back to three sets for Nadal in the fourth round, defeating Juan Ignacio Londero, conceding just 8 games in the process. The quarter-final was where the first real test was supposed to being against Kei Nishikori but it was as if Nadal simply raised his game. He defeated the Japanese 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 to set up a mouth-watering semi-final against Roger Federer.
The Swiss has missed this tournament in recent years to focus on the grass court season and he may as well have done the same this year. Nadal made light work of the third seed to win in straight sets.
Thiem Road to the Final
Thiem’s road to the final was more stressful than his opponent’s. He required four sets to win in each of the first, second and third rounds. All three matches were tied at one set all but Thiem produced the goods in the following two sets to defeat Tommy Paul, Alexander Bublik and Pablo Cuevas.
However, Thiem produced two, three set victories in the fourth round and the quarter-final. The Austrian defeated home favourite Gael Mofils before eliminating the Russian, Karen Khachanov.
The semi-final against Novak Djokovic, a man aiming to hold all four Grand Slams at the same time was always going to be a bigger test. However, what we didn’t know was just how long this match would last. Due to poor weather, the match carried over into Saturday afternoon and was interrupted a total of three times by rain.
It was the more experienced Djokovic, rather than Thiem, who seemed to be allowing the conditions to get the better of him. Despite missing two match points on his serve, Thiem saw out the final and deciding set 7-5 to book his place in the final.
Nadal is the favourite at just 2/9 to beat Thiem in the final and it is easy to see why. The Spaniard is known as the ‘King of Clay’ and has appeared in the final eleven times. He has won the event eleven times which means Nadal has never lost a French Open final in his career.
There is the psychological advantage of defeating Thiem in straight sets last year and Nadal will be eager to produce the same result in 2019. Only once in the last four French Open finals he has contested has Nadal been taken beyond three sets and even then, the match only went to four sets.
Nadal is available at 11/10 to win the match 3-0.
Despite being arguably the greatest threat to Nadal on clay, Thiem is still out at 7/2 to win this match and be crowned French Open champion. The Austrian has never defeated Nadal in a five set match so is unlikely to come out on top in just three sets.
If Thiem is going to win, it is more likely the match will go to five sets and Thiem is 9/1 to win the match 3-2. The world number four has defeated Nadal four times on clay in his career but each time the match has only been the best of three sets.