Rafael Nadal will clash with Dominic Thiem on Sunday for a chance to win another French Open title. At stake for both players will be 2.2 million euros in prize money as well as 2000 ATP ranking points. Nadal could become only the second player to win 17 grand slam titles on the men’s tour. Meanwhile, 24-year-old Thiem is hoping to become only the second Austrian in history to win a major title.
Here are five facts about today’s men’s final at the French Open.
1. Nadal leads their head-to-head
World No.1 Nadal has a 6-3 record against Thiem on the tour, but this doesn’t necessarily tell the full story. The Austrian is one of only three players to have defeated the Spaniard on the clay three or more times. The other two are Novak Djokovic (seven times) and Gaston Gaudio (three times). Furthermore, 2018 is the second consecutive year Thiem has been the only player to defeat Nadal on the dirt prior to Roland Garros.
All of their nine previous meetings have taken place on the clay with two of them occurring at Roland Garros (2014 and 2017). Nadal won both of those. All of their previous matches have ended in straight sets.
|Year||Name||Round||Surface||Winning Player||Losing Player||Score|
|2018||Madrid Masters||QF||Clay||Dominic Thiem||Rafael Nadal||7-5 6-3|
|2018||Monte Carlo Masters||QF||Clay||Rafael Nadal||Dominic Thiem||6-0 6-2|
|2017||FO – RG||SF||Clay||Rafael Nadal||Dominic Thiem||6-3 6-4 6-0|
|2017||Rome Masters||QF||Clay||Dominic Thiem||Rafael Nadal||6-4 6-3|
|2017||Madrid Masters||F||Clay||Rafael Nadal||Dominic Thiem||7-6(8) 6-4|
|2017||Barcelona||F||Clay||Rafael Nadal||Dominic Thiem||6-4 6-1|
|2016||Monte Carlo Masters||R16||Clay||Rafael Nadal||Dominic Thiem||7-5 6-3|
|2016||Buenos Aires||SF||Clay||Dominic Thiem||Rafael Nadal||6-4 4-6 7-6(4)|
|2014||FO – RG||R64||Clay||Rafael Nadal||Dominic Thiem||6-2 6-2 6-3|
2. Thiem is aiming to join an elite group
Already recording a win over second seed Alexander Zverev earlier in the tournament, Thiem is gunning for the double. Should he triumph in the final, he would become only the ninth man in the Open Era to defeat the top two seeds on route to a major title. The fourth at the French Open.
Since 2000, Stan Wawrinka has been the only player to achieve the double at the 2014 Australian Open and the 2015 French Open. Other players who have previously achieved the record are Manuel Orantes, Mark Edmondson, Mats Wilander, Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, Michael Stich, Sergi Bruguera.
3. Nadal is a win away from the Undecima
A win on Sunday would give Nadal a record 11th French Open title. Should he do so, he would become the second player and first man to ever win the same grand slam 11 times. The first was Margaret Court at the Australian Open. Only him and Roger Federer has reached the final of the same major 11 times on the men’s tour. Federer achieved his milestone at Wimbledon last year.
Nadal could also become the first player in history to win three tournaments 11 times in the Open Era. He has already achieved the Undecima at tournaments in Monte Carlo and Barcelona.
Years Nadal has won the French Open – 2005-08, 2010-2014, 2017
4. Youth Vs experience
32-year-old Nadal has the chance to join Federer, Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall as the only men to have won three major titles after their 30th birthday. Last year he won both the French and US Open titles. Nadal is already one of seven players on the ATP Tour to have won multiple major titles after the age of 30.
At the other end of the spectrum, 24-year-old Thiem is bidding to be the youngest winner in Paris since Nadal back in 2010. A win would make him the youngest grand slam champion since Novak Djokovic at the 2012 Australian Open.
Grand slam match wins
Nadal – 236
Thiem – 43
French Open main draw wins
Nadal – 85
Thiem – 18
Nadal – $98,001,598
Thiem – $11,093,101
Note: numbers go up to the 2018 French Open final
5. The seedings milestone
It will be only the third time in the Open Era that a top seed (Nadal) has taken on the seventh seed (Thiem) in a major final. The only previous time it has occurred in Roland Garros was in 1992 when Jim Courier defeated Peter Korda.
The top seed has won the French Open 14 times in the Open Era. On the other hand only once has a seventh seed been victorious. That was Jan Kodes back in 1970.
Dominic Stricker cruises past Luca Nardi at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah
Third seed Dominic Stricker cruised past Luca Nardi 4-1 4-1 4-2 in 54 minutes in the fastest match in the history of the Next Gen Finals at the Next Gen ATP Finals at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah bouncing back from his defeat in the first match against Flavio Cobolli on Tuesday.
Stricker converted four of his six break points and hit 13 winners, including 3 aces.
Stricker came back from 15-40 down in the first game after two double faults from Nardi and broke serve with a return winner on the deciding point to take a 1-0 lead. The world number 94 saved three break-back-back points in the second game from 15-40 down before breaking for the second time in the fifth game to win the first set 4-1.
Stricker broke serve at 30 in the second game of the second set and held serve at love in the third game to race out to a 3-0 lead. Stricker served it out on his second set point.
Stricker earned an early break in the first game of the third set on the deciding point and held his next service games. Nardi saved the first match point but he hit his backhand into the net on the second match point after the longest rally of the match.
“We had a long discussion yesterday evening about how to do it today. I think it was really good that we talked a lot after what maybe was not my best performance. Now to come out today like that, I think nobody expected that. I am just happy that I did it and now I am going to try my best to recover for the third group match”, said Stricker. Stricker is now 1-1 in Green Group. The Swiss player is aiming to reach his second consecutive semifinal at the Next Gen Finals. He is looking to crown a good year after reaching the fourth round at the US Open.
Jannik Sinner, Arnaldi End Italy’s 47-Year Wait For Davis Cup Title
An in-form Jannik Sinner has secured Italy’s first Davis Cup title in almost half a century after crushing Alex de Minaur in straight sets.
The world No.4 headed into the crucial match with his country boasting a 1-0 lead over Australia after Matteo Arnaldi won his clash against Alexi Popryin in three sets. Taking on a fiery de Minaur, a composed Sinner surged to a 6-3, 6-0, victory in Malaga to hand his country an unassailable lead and the title. The dominant performance saw Sinner produce a total of 25 winners with 18 of them coming from his forehand side. It is the sixth time he has beaten de Minaur on the Tour and he is yet to lose against him.
“It helps a lot to play for the whole team,” Sinner said of his latest win. “It has been an incredible thing for all of us and we are really happy.”
Sinner first broke three games into his encounter with de Minaur after the Australian hit a lob shot that landed out. In control of proceedings, he rallied his way to 5-3 before opening up a 40-0 lead against his opponent’s serve. With three set points at his disposal, Sinner converted his second with the help of another unforced error coming from across the court.
Closing in on the historic victory, the 22-year-old was in clinical form throughout the second frame as he raced to a 5-0 lead in under 30 minutes. Destroying whatever hopes Australia had of a shock comeback. Sinner closed out the match on his third attempt after a De Minaur backhand drifted wide, prompting an almighty smile on his face.
“Thanks to Australia. I know with the new format it is a little bit different to have to all come to one place. it means a lot.” Said Sinner.
In the first match of the day, Arnaldi ousted Popryin 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, in a two-and-a-half-hour marathon. The world No.44, who made his Davis Cup debut in September, held his nerve throughout a tense deciding set where he saved all eight break points he faced. Overall, he hit a total of 40 winners past Popryin and was visibly emotional afterward.
“This match was very important and emotional for a few reasons,” Arnaldi told reporters.
“This year for me was the first time playing for my country. I played when I was junior, but Davis Cup is just different.’
“And three weeks ago, an important person passed away. I think he gave me the power to try to stay there (in the match). It wasn’t easy to play, but they gave me the power at the end to try to win.”
It is the second time in history Italy has won the Davis Cup and the first since 1976. The triumph caps off what has been a memorable week for the team who 24 hours earlier beat Novak Djokovic’s Serbia in the semi-finals with Sinner saving three match points against the world No.1 in the singles.
“I’m really thankful and proud to have these guys,” Italian captain Filippo Volandri commented.
“We have had to manage with a lot of emergencies during these past two years but we did it and we did it like a family.” He added.
Italy, who has become the 11th country in history to win Multiple Davis Cup titles, currently has six players in the ATP top 100 with four of those being in the top 50.
Alexander Zverev Deserves More Respect According To Boris Becker
According to Boris Becker, Alexander Zverev deserves more respect from tennis journalists.
Boris Becker has claimed that Alexander Zverev deserves more respect despite Zverev failing to live up to his potential at Grand Slams.
Zverev has only reached one Grand Slam final in his career despite being a regular inside the world’s top ten as well as performing at regular ATP events.
This season Zverev played a limited schedule after recovering from an ankle injury but still managed to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals.
However most critics have been loud when judging Zverev’s career as it was looking likely that he would be a regular Grand Slam champion.
The German has failed to live up to expectations but former Grand Slam champion Boris Becker believes Zverev deserves more respect.
Speaking to Eurosport Becker also said that Zverev’s father being the coach is a more than successful approach when it comes to the former US Open finalist’s career, “In my opinion, he doesn’t get enough respect from the tennis experts internationally,” Becker explained.
“They’re all talking about the young three or four, but don’t give Zverev, Medvedev or Rublev enough respect. He’s playing with his fist in his pocket a little bit, wants everyone show that he is not a thing of the past, but that his best time is yet to come.
“Surely his father knows best what is good for his son, but if you look into the box at the competition, you can also see changes.”
Becker has followed Zverev for most of his career so knows that the best is yet to come from the German.
Alexander Zverev will look to prove himself next season when he starts his 2024 season when he represents Germany at the United Cup.
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