(3) Stan Wawrinka (SUI) vs (4) Rafael Nadal (ESP)
A huge final awaits us tonight between two powerhouses of the men’s game. Stan The Man and The King of Clay. Neither are strangers to the last match at Roland Garros with both being ex-champions in Paris.
Nadal is gunning for an unprecedented 10th French Open title and is in scintillating form. He hasn’t dropped a set all tournament and has looked a class above everyone else. Stan Wawrinka is aiming for his second French Open title and fourth major title overall. He has also been in great form despite needing 5 sets to dispatch world number 1 Andy Murray. Interestingly, if Wawrinka is victorious tonight, he will surpass Murray for Grand Slam titles despite not being included in the ‘big 4’.
Whist Nadal is the heavy favourite, Wawrinka is extremely comfortably on the clay and most likely won’t let himself get bullied around the court by Rafa. I expect an extremely physical battle between the two in what shapes up as a dream final on this surface.
How Stan Wawrinka will win…
Wawrinka undoubtedly faces the toughest task in tennis in facing off against Rafa in a French Open Final. Wawrinka will have to run with a similar game plan to what Robin Söderling adapted to hand Nadal his first French Open defeat in 2009 in going all out attack.
It goes without saying that Wawrinka will have to play at his absolute best. He will have to try and overpower Nadal and force him to hit shorter groundstrokes to open up the court. If Nadal is hitting hard, deep shots, it could spell trouble for Wawrinka. It’s important that Stan becomes the aggressor otherwise he will just get pushed all over the court by Rafa. I expect him to try and overpower Rafa from the back of the court, force short returns then put away any short opportunities for a winner.How Rafael Nadal will win…
The key to Rafa winning I believe is simply to avoid hitting the ball too short. Rafa is at his most dangerous when he hits through the ball and it dips down deep in his opponent’s court. In the past few years he has got himself into trouble against opponents by dropping the ball short. If he avoids doing this, he can just play his natural clay-court game and he should be too good for Wawrinka.Prediction
I believe that Wawrinka is the only player in the world currently capable of beating Nadal in a French Open final. He loves the big grand slam finals and is undefeated when reaching the final of a major.
However I can’t see Nadal being denied of a 10th French Open title. He is without doubt the best clay courter of all time and seems to have rediscovered his best form this year. I expect Wawrinka to go down swinging but Rafa will be too strong.
Nadal in 4 sets.