In what is fast becoming a fascinating inter-generational rivalry on clay, second seed Rafael Nadal takes on fourth seed Dominic Thiem in the French Open final for the second straight year. Preview
That’s it from us. It was a close final till the end of the second set. After that, it was one-way traffic as Nadal kicked into gear. It will take something out of the ordinary to beat him on this surface. Onto the grass court season then?
Nadal: You are a great inspiration for me and all the young kids around the world. If I had to lose to anyone, it would have been to you. Your support has been incredible. I thank one all, including the ballboys and the organisers.
Theim: I love this tournament. Rafa is an amazing champion. Thanks to my team, means a lot to have my friends and family here. Would like to have them when I win my title.
Nadal: It’s a very special moment for me. Thiem has been outstanding. He has unbelievable intensity and passion for this sport and I hope he will get to lift this trophy in the future.
Nadal beats Thiem 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 It was an anti-climatic end for Thiem. He was in it after a spirited win in the third set. Nadal simply blew him away in the last two sets.
NADAL WINS ROLLAND GARROS FOR 12th TIME
At 40-15, Nadal hits it long. There was a much better fight from Thiem in this set compared tom the previous one but he had no chance. It is a wild, hopeful hit while trying to find the baseline that brings down the curtains. Nadal slides on the floor and his shirt is covered in clay, quite symbolic of how unstoppable this man has been on this surface in 15 years.
4th set: Nadal 5: 1 Thiem
Nadal will be serving for the championship. This was the closest Thiem came to testing Nadal in the set. On two occasions, they were locked on deuce. But a tired Thiem bundles into the net and Grand Slam no 18 is only a touching distance away.
4th set: Nadal 4: 1 Thiem
Another easy point for Nadal, who snuffs out any bit of advantage his opponent earns. Some tired shots from Thiem there and this match might well and truly be over at the moment. More crushing forehands, Nadal looks indomitable.
4th set: Nadal 3: 1 Thiem
There is fight left in Thiem. He gets his sixth ace of the match and on this occasion, gets the get of Nadal with his backhand. He moved to 40-30 with a ferocious down-the-line pass. Some fight left in the Austrian.
4th set: Nadal 3: 0 Thiem
After what seems like an age, we have a game that stretched beyond the fifth minute. Thiem was more in his element here, striking two unstoppable forehand shots to get into the lead. Nadal also gets an ace too and this was close to the complete package that you need to witness how good the man is at the net. A volley to move to advantage and drop shot sees him go 3-0 up. Thiem needs inspiration. Nadal looks turbo-charged and is playing like a man possessed. No 12 is around the corner.
4th set: Nadal 2: 0 Thiem
Oh well, Thiem may have lost some steam here and Nadal is in no mood to offer any free points. We have lost count on the number of times the Spanish ace just breezed through to pocket a game.
4th set: Nadal 1: 0 Thiem
Thiem nearly had a break there, just nearly. He was 40-30 up in the game and the crowd were willing him on. Alas, a couple of forehand returns at the net sees the pendulum swing the other way. Nadal pockets after an error from Thiem.
NADAL WINS THIRD SET 6-1
It just took 24 minutes for Nadal to race away to this one. He was fierce, he was angry and he was almost flawless here. Thiem didn’t have a sniff. Even the point he earned came as an abberation. The Austrian received a hiding here. Is there life in this contest?
3rd set: Nadal 5-1 Thiem
Bread and butter stuff for Nadal and he has raced away to his fifth point of the set, which could be over before you blink an eye. Those baseline shots keep on coming.
3rd set: Nadal 4-1 Thiem
Thiem gets on the scoreboard finally. A couple of lovely cross-court returns from the 25-year-old and Nadal makes an unforced error by hitting it long. But this set could be done and dusted already.
3rd set: Nadal 4-0 Thiem
Oh boy, this could be a bagel at this rate. Thiem is caught out yet again with a drop shot and Thiem can’t get a point. More flawless booming forehands gives Nadal a 4-0 lead in the set.
3rd set: Nadal 3-0 Thiem
Nadal is fired up. There are close to half-a-dozen fist pumps after winning the game. At least, Thiem gets a point and but Nadal’s forehand rockets are well and truly cback. It has been vintage stuff from the 33-year-old since losing the second set. We are not able to keep track of his winners in this set. That is how good he has been.
3rd set: Nadal 2-0 Thiem
Nadal earns a break in the first game and he shows his class at the net. A tired return from Thiem allows Nadal go 30-0 up. Nadal bulldozes his way to 2-0. The Spaniard has switched gears here.
There have been some rockets from Thiem today:
THIEM WINS SECOND SET 7-5
Would you believe it? Thiem, all of brave returns and imperious forehands, gets a set off Nadal in French Open final. Yes, we are all rubbing our eyes at the moment and the punishing tie continues. Nadal was poor all through the game, which lasted for 46 minutes. Trying to push Thiem long behind the baseline, Nadal makes a slew of unforced errors and costs him the set.
2nd set: Thiem 6-5 Nadal
Another love hold. Thiem gets his fourth ace of the match and that sets the tone for his sixth point of the set. We still don’t have any deuce games. The Austrian has been excellent on serve all day.
2nd set: Thiem 5-5 Nadal
There is some serve and volley on display for the first time from Nadal. Thiem had little answer to that. Then, there were forehand winners as well. Love hold once again and Nadal responds in style.
2nd set: Thiem 5-4 Nadal
Finally, Thiem’s backhand is firing again after he shanked it twice in the previous game during Nadal’s serve. Despite going a touch off the boil compared to the first set, Thiem now has five points in the set. The Paris crowd roars in approval but can he break here?
2nd set: Thiem 4-4 Nadal
We have not hand any deuce games so far but that also goes to show how good the two players have been on serve. Nadal makes short work of this to level things up.
2nd set: Thiem 4-3 Nadal
Once again, no mistake from his serve. Simple yet effective stuff from Thiem and that was vintage Nadal with the forehand. Powerful with his forehand once again is the Austrian. Two crisp passes down the line sees him gets his seventh point of the game.
2nd set: Thiem 3-3 Nadal
Nadal holds to love again. He starts things off with a belligerent forehand pass and then makes short work off it with his baseline play. Told you, there will be an immediate response and there it is. Thiem may be running out of gas somewhat.
2nd set: Thiem 3-2 Nadal
The round-arm forehand from Nadal has been somewhat of a mixed bag. Thiem gets his sixth point in the game with as the Spaniard shanks from behind the baseline. The response is incoming.
2nd set: Thiem 2-2 Nadal
The approach is right as Thiem tries to push Nadal behind the baseline but the latter makes easy work of it and completes the point. We are level again.
2nd set: Thiem 2-1 Nadal
Good hold there from Thiem. There was a rocket ace from his as well but from 40-15, allows Nadal to get back in the game after making an error with his forehand. Trying to go deep in the paint, the Austrian’s return is once again long on the side but pockets the point in emphatic fashion – with a forehand from the heavens.
2nd set: Thiem 1-1 Nadal
And....Thiem’s joy was short-lived. Those booming groundstrokes are back in full flow and had too much fizz and spin for the Austrian to retrieve. Thiem hits the net twice and it was an easy point for Nadal.
2nd set: Thiem 1-0 Nadal
Much needed point for Thiem after losing three in a row in the previous set. No mistakes with his forehand on that occasion and sizzles with his cross-court forehand shots to take a point. Thiem needs more of this.
NADAL WINS FIRST SET 6-3
Nadal seems to have smarted from going a break down quite remarkably. It took just 53 minutes and has taken 12 out of the last 16 points. Once again, Thiem deploys a high-risk game by going long and trying to test every sinew of Nadal’s legs behind the baseline. But once again, he clubbed it wide. Brilliant from Nadal.
1st set: Nadal 5-3 Thiem
A little erratic there from Thiem, who, despite losing the previous game had the measure of Nadal. He starts the game by hitting it wide with his forehand and that was the sniff Nadal needed. He then goes for broke here with a drop shot but how good was that response from Nadal: The Spaniard slid in and a cute drop of his own helped him move to 40-30. A down-the-line pass, measured perfectly, sees him pocked the double break point.
1st set: Nadal 4-3 Thiem (Nadal holds serve)
Nadal is back on serve. “Tennis from another planet” is the verdict from the commentary box and we can’t disagree. Nadal’s backhand has looked strangely off-colour and concedes points on a couple of occasions there to allow Theim to bring it to deuce. But the best was reserved for the manner in which Thiem brought it back to deuce after that. First, he surprises Nadal with a table-tennis style scoop. His forehand return was even better, but Nadal restores parity with his forehand and holds serve.
1st set: Nadal 3-3 Thiem (Nadal breaks back)
That’s the response of a champion and Nadal made it look so simple. Errors once again from Thiem and a delicate cross-court sees the momentum swing right away. Here again, Thiem had a response each and every time Nadal pushed him to the corners behind the baseline. Pin-point accuracy with the return to take the point.
1st set: Nadal 2-3 Thiem (Thiem breaks)
The Austrian is incredible with his return and takes the break with a sumptuous cross-court winner with his forehand after an enticing rally. Nadal took a 30-0 lead and a fourth unforced error allowed Thiem to get back in the contest. Nadal recovered after what looked like Thiem had put him in an uncomfortable position at the net. Theim’s returns were a thing of beauty on that occasion too. This is set up for a fascinating final.
1st set: Nadal 2-2 Thiem
Theim impresses on serve and he is also aided by a couple of uncharacteristic unforced errors from Nadal’s forehand. Theim levels things up in the first set after yet another powerful return bounces wide after clipping the top of the net. The 25-year-old will be encouraged by this.
1st set: Nadal 2-1 Thiem
Nadal was running away with it after making a couple of quick points but Thiem makes a spirited comeback to make it 30-40, once again pushing his opponent deep in the baseline. The Spaniard was caught flat-footed and hit it wide. It was deuce after Nadal’s cross-court return bounced off the net and went out. The reigning champion turn on his class once again with yet another magnificent drop with his forehand to take advantage. Nadal pockets the point with an ace.
1st set: Nadal 1-1 Thiem
Good comeback from Thiem. Nadal made it 30-all with a gorgeous volleyed return at the net. Thiem, though, continues to hit deep and was solid with his forehand. He earns his first points of the match.
1st set: Nadal 1-0 Thiem
Nadal serves first and takes the the first points of the match. After a mistimed forehand, Thiem hits it long to make it 30-all. The duo are then entangled in a long rally. Thiem’s backhand return goes wide and the reigning champion completes the point with with a return lob.
6.40 PM: As much as this final seems like a foregone conclusion – Nadal is 11-0 in French Open finals after all – it should be noted that Thiem is the only active male player under 28 to have played Grand slam singles final. The 25-year-old is sure to be more competitive in this final than his last.
6. 35 PM: The players are on court, Nadal is arranging his bottles while Thiem waits for him at the net for the toss.
Earlier today, we had the women’s doubles final with Kiki Mladenovic and Timea Babos winning their second Grand Slam trophy together.
6.30 PM: Thiem has four wins on clay over the 11-time Roland Garros champion, second only to Djokovic. But can the heir apparent become just the third man to beat ‘King of Clay’ Nadal at Roland Garros?
6.20 PM: Before the men’s final begins, you can read the women’s champion’s incredible story. Three years since returning to tennis after taking a break to regroup mentally, Ashleigh Barty won her first singles Grand Slam
Road to the final
Nadal has hardly broken sweat this year, making the final for the loss of just one set, against David Goffin in the third round. Thiem, on the other hand, needed four sets in the first four matches and a five-setter in the semi-finals against world Noval Djokovic.
Incidentally, this will be Thiem’s fourth straight day of play after rain and wind washed out a day and extended his semi-finals over two days.
1st rd: bt Yannick Hanfmann (GER) 6-2, 6-1, 6-3
2nd rd: bt Yannick Maden (GER) 6-1, 6-2, 6-4
3rd rd: bt David Goffin (BEL x27) 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3
4th rd: bt Juan Ignacio Londero (ARG) 6-2, 6-3, 6-3
QF: bt Kei Nishikori (JPN x7) 6-1, 6-1, 6-3
SF: bt Roger Federer (SUI x3) 6-3, 6-4, 6-2
1st rd: bt Tommy Paul (USA) 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2
2nd rd: bt Alexander Bublik (KAZ) 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3, 7-5
3rd rd: bt Pablo Cuevas (URU) 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5
4th rd: bt Gael Monfils (FRA x14) 6-4, 6-4, 6-2
QF: bt Karen Khachanov (RUS x10) 6-2, 6-4, 6-2
While Nadal leads their head-to-head 8-4, Thiem won their most recent meeting on clay in the semi-finals in Barcelona in April in straight sets. In fact, the 25-year-old was the only player to beat Nadal on clay in 2017 and 2018 and has continued the streak this year.
Nadal vs Thiem head-to-head
|2019||Barcelona Open (semi-final)||Thiem||6-4, 6-4|
|2018||US Open (quarter-final)||Nadal||0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/5)|
|2018||French Open (final)||Nadal||6-4, 6-3, 6-2|
|2018||Madrid Masters (quarter-final)||Thiem||7-5, 6-3|
|2018||Monte Carlo Masters (quarter-final)||Nadal||6-0, 6-2|
|2017||French Open (semi-final)||Nadal||6-3, 6-4, 6-0|
|2017||Rome Masters (quarter-final)||Thiem||6-4, 6-3|
|2017||Madrid Masters (final)||Nadal||Nadal 7-6 (8/6), 64|
|2017||Barcelona Open (final)||Nadal||6-4, 6-1|
|2016||Monte Carlo Masters (Round of 16)||Nadal||7-5, 6-3|
|2016||Argentina Open (semi-final)||Thiem||6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7/4)|
|2014||French Open (Round of 64)||Nadal||6-2, 6-2, 6-3|
6.05 pm: In what is fast becoming a fascinating inter-generational rivalry on clay, Nadal knows he cannot under-estimate Thiem in their second straight final here.
Thiem has four wins on clay over the 33-year-old Spaniard, second only to Djokovic. But can the heir apparent become just the third man to beat ‘King of Clay’ Nadal at Roland Garros? Read our preview
6.00 pm: Meanwhile, there is a blockbuster cricket World Cup match going on between old rivals India and Australia. You can catch all the live updates about that match here.
Hello and welcome to the live blog of the French Open men’s singles final. In a repeat of the 2018 final, 11-time champion Rafael Nadal takes on Dominic Thiem.
The Spanish 2nd seed is in his 12th final at Roland Garros, the Austrian 4th seed is in his second.