Rafael Nadal v Dominic Thiem: Stats & betting tips for French Open final

French Open

We preview the French Open men’s singles final and give you everything you need to know ahead of Rafael Nadal’s intriguing clash with Dominic Thiem.

Recent Form
It’s Rafael Nadal, so you know his form is good. Furthermore, it’s clay court season, you you know it’s going to be even better than usual.

The world number one played in four tournaments on the red stuff coming into the French Open and he won three of them, in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, and Rome.

In fact, the Spaniard has only actually dropped five sets on clay all year after retiring hurt in the Australian Open quarter-final against Marin Cilic in January.

Dominic Thiem, though, is not going to be any kind of a pushover in Paris.

No one has won more matches in 2018 than the likeable Austrian, and he has two clay court season titles to his name himself already this season.

Most notably, one of those came at Nadal’s expense, after he dumped the world number one out of the Madrid Open in the quarter finals before going on to win it himself.

Head to head
It doesn’t really matter who you put Nadal in a head to head with, he’s always going to compare at the very least competitively.

However, Thiem holds his own to a certain extent against the Spaniard, who has won six of their nine previous meetings.

Interestingly, all of their past battles have been fought on clay, which only serves to do Thiem’s record against Nadal all the more credit.

Of their last four clashes, they have two wins a-piece, with the winner getting the job done in straight sets every time.

Their most recent meeting was won by Thiem, but both times they have faced each other in a final it has been Nadal that has come out on top.

They have played each other just once before at Roland Garros, in the semi-final last year, which Nadal took in straight sets.

What they’ve said

Rafael Nadal: “For me, the motivation to play here always is high, high as possible.

“But for me, I believe that there are limited chances in your career.

“I have lost a lot of opportunities through injuries, and I know the years are going quick. So there is not 10 more chances to keep playing here.”

Dominic Thiem: “He’s a big favourite against everybody. Still, I know how to play against him. I have a plan.

“I will try everything so that my plan is also going to work out a little bit here and not only in Madrid or in Rome.

“If I want to beat him, I have to play that way like I did in Rome and in Madrid. But I’m also aware that here it’s tougher. He likes the conditions more here than in Madrid, for sure. Best of five [sets] is also a different story.

“I’m not the one who has the pressure.”

Nadal is, as you’d expect, heavy odds-on favourite to win the match, but that makes Thiem a puntable 7/2 with Bet365 to win outright, which is generous given his record, even if he’d never bested him over five sets before.

You can make that 5/1 if you back the Austrian to win the first set and the match, and that’s very decent value. Nadal always looks to wear down his opponents so he tends to be more vulnerable in the first set than any other, plus Thiem has straight-setted the world number one more than once.

The last seven times these players have met it has always finished in a straight sets victory. Nadal to win it in three is even money, while Thiem is a whopping 12/1 to win the title without dropping a set.

The best value, though, may be the 5/1 on offer for Nadal to lose the first set but win the match.