After a remarkable women’s French Open final on Saturday it is the turn of the men to battle it out for their title on Sunday as Stan Wawrinka takes on Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros. Both men have won the Paris title before so we should get a cracking encounter here.
Stan Wawrinka goes into this final knowing that he has won the previous three Grand Slam finals he has played in his career. His win in the semi-final was an absolute epic and the spells he played brilliantly in he would have beaten anyone which begs the question of whether he is peaking at the right time.
Wawrinka hadn’t dropped a set in this tournament until the semi-final but despite trailing 2-1 in sets to Andy Murray he came through to win in style with a brilliant final set which should have him nicely set up for what he will believe will be a second French Open title having won the crown back in 2015.
Wawrinka going for a second title is impressive but it is nothing compared to Rafael Nadal. He is aiming to be the king of clay for a tenth time and has looked supreme in this tournament it has to be said. The Spanish maestro is yet to drop a set in the tournament and to be fair he’s barely been in danger in one.
I don’t know whether we can take from that, that he is back to his best but he has certainly been too good for everyone he has run into so far. This represents his toughest test on paper though and that should equate into the same thing when the two take to the clay too. Only Dominic Thiem has beaten Nadal on clay this year.
Head to Head
These two have met 18 times in the past with Rafael Nadal leading 15-3 in their head to head and on clay their record is 4-1 in Nadal’s favour but the two things which Wawrinka can cling to ahead of this final are that they are 3-3 for their last six meetings and the Swiss man won their only previous Grand Slam final, in Australia three years ago.
You would have to be a staunch Stan Wawrinka fan to suggest he has a chance of winning this final. I don’t think he does unless he can produce tennis beyond what we’ve seen from him before but that doesn’t mean this final has to be all one-sided. It doesn’t and I don’t think it will be.
Rafael Nadal was a break down in the first set against Thiem in the semi-final and Thiem had break points at other times too. If Wawrinka got those chances he might jump on them and protect them enough to at least win a set here. The fact Wawrinka performs to his best in Grand Slam finals is encouraging. Ultimately I think he’ll taste defeat in one for the first time here but I don’t think he’ll go down in straight sets.
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