Dominic Thiem vs Rafael Nadal French Open Picks - 6/9/2019
Dominic Thiem vs Rafael Nadal
9am EST, 9th June 2019
Roland Garros (Paris, France)
Court Philippe Chatrier
We've got a re-match of the last years finals. But what a rollercoaster in the second semifinals! Dominic Thiem crushed Djokovic's dreams of second career non-calendar Grand Slam in a 5-set thriller, spanning over two days. There was a lot of controversy about that rain delay on Friday. Players were 1 all, with Thiem holding a 3-1 lead in the third set. It was obvious throughout the match that Novak was struggling with windy conditions more than Dominic. So, as soon as the rain started to fall, Nole grabbed an opportunity and left the field, even before the officials made an announcement about suspending the play. That way, he kind of forced their hand into making that decision. After an hour or so inside the locker rooms, the match was postponed to Saturday. More sun, less wind, and Novak immediately looked way more dangerous. But there was some inconsistency in his game. Being hesitant and error prone in some of the most crucial moments which lead to Thiem having 2 match points, serving at 5-3 in the 5th set. Nole won 4 points in the row and broke back, which reminded us to his match vs Federer at US Open 2011 where he broke back from a completely identical situation and won in the end. This time, Thiem had an answer for Novak's magic of saving match points and turning the matches around. Austrian stayed cool and collected. Played solid tennis going forward and got his opportunity to revenge his last year's loss to Nadal.
Rafa's semifinal was way less stressful. He met Roger Federer in similarly difficult playing conditions, involving wind gusts. He adjusted to it better and even though Roger had its opportunities in the 2nd set, Nadal was simply too strong and denied every Federer's attempt of taking over the control of the match. But this was not the lonely case of Rafa beast-moding in recent period. He had several performances where he looked as good as ever.
Thiem is one of the rare players that had some success vs Nadal on clay courts. He won 4 out of 11 so far. But unfortunatelly for him, none of those were at the French Open. Actually, he is yet to win a set after 3 matches vs Rafa in Paris. Court Philippe Chatrier is Spaniard's backyard and he simply puts into another gear when playing here, making it almost impossible for his opponents to steal a win. 11 Roland Garros titles are great evidence of that.
It is expected for the wind to quiet down a bit tomorrow. I don't think that changes much for either player. Neither likes the colder weather much, but I think it helps Rafa in this matchup. He was playing amazing defensive tennis vs Federer and made some incredible shots that turned defense into instant offense. Especially from his backhand side, he created angles, with which he immediately regained control over the point. And that is the side which was very productive for Thiem vs Djokovic. Going inside-in with his forehand, he managed to hit numerous important winners. In current form, Rafa will not allow that to happen and most likely counter it with something spectacular.
Betting odds & prediction
Nadal opened as 4 to 1 favorite, spread being -6 and total sitting at 37. I don't think that surprised anybody and the way he's been playing, I am not sure that many people are running to the window to get Thiem, even at these odds. In my opinion, they might be even slightly short, considering the current form of the both, the matchup, their H2H at Roland Garros and the events that took place in the semifinals resulting in Thiem playing 5-setter and not having a day to rest. Looking at the total, I can't shake off a feeling of it being on a higher side. Rafa could quite easily get this done in straight sets, but even in four, there are some realistic chances of it staying under. Cold weather, serves not being as efficient as usual... We could easily see a couple of 6-2 type sets that would keep the total below this number.
Tony's Pick: under 37 games (-112)
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