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  • French Open 2017 Live final preview: Rafael Nadal v Stan Wawrinka

    Reporter: Aditya Soni
    Published: Saturday, 10 June 2017
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    Watch French Open 2017 Final Here : Rafael Nadal v Stan Wawrinka {Live}


    Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka both booked their place in the French Open final on Friday and it promises to be a fascinating contest.

    Nine-time winner Nadal has yet to drop a set on his charge to the last match of the tournament – dropping just 29 games in the process.

    Wawrinka has only dropped two sets himself and took Andy Murray out in the semi-finals.

    Here we’ll take a look at the contest and offer a prediction as to who will come out on top.

    What’s on the line?

    Nadal is chasing a 10th title at Roland Garros – la decima – in what is a simply stunning record.

    The Spaniard has won all nine of his previous finals at Roland Garros and has only lost two five-set clay-court matches in his career, having won 101 contests.

    Should he protect his unbeaten record in French Open finals, he will become the world No. 2.



    Nadal-Wawrinka Grand Slam records

    Nadal
    Australian Open: Winner (2009)
    French Open: Winner (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
    Wimbledon: Winner (2008, 2010)
    US Open: (2010, 2013)
    Wawrinka
    Australian Open: Winner (2014)
    French Open: Winner (2015)
    Wimbledon: Quarter-finals (2014, 2015)
    US Open: (2016)

    Wawrinka has his own record to protect, with the Swiss winning all three of his previous Grand Slam finals – including one against Nadal in the 2014 Australian Open.

    He’s looking to win a major twice for the first time too, having won the Australian Open, French Open and US Open each on one occasion.

    Should the Swiss win, he will become the oldest French Open winner since Andres Gimeno in 1972 (34) and will rise to a career-high world No. 2.


    How did they reach this stage?

    Murray was dumped out by Wawrinka (Picture: Getty)

    Nadal has been rampant in his run to the final.

    The most games he’s lost in one match has been eight and he’s yet to drop a set

    His demolition of Dominic Thiem, the only man to beat him on clay in 2017, was particularly impressive.

    Routes to final

    Nadal
    R1: 6-1 6-4 6-1 Paire
    R2: 6-1 6-4 6-3 Haase
    R3: 6-0 6-1 6-0 Basilashvili
    R4: 6-1 6-2 6-2 Bautista Agut
    QF: 6-2 2-0 RET Carreno Busta
    SF: 6-3 6-4 6-0 Thiem
    Wawrinka
    R1: 6-2 7-6 6-3 Kovalik
    R2: 6-4 7-6 7-5 Dolgopolov
    R3: 7-6 6-0 6-2 Fognini
    R4: 7-5 7-6 6-2 Monfils
    QF: 6-3 6-3 6-1 Cilic
    SF: 6-7 6-3 5-7 7-6 6-1 Murray

    Wawrinka has also enjoyed a fine run to the final, seeing off tough opponents Fabio Fognini, Gael Monfils and Marin Cilic without dropping a set.

    He was forced to battle hard with Murray but showed great mental strength to hang in and then blew the world No. 1 away in the final set.


    What’s their head-to-head like?

    Wawrinka and Nadal have met on 18 occasions (Picture: Getty)

    It’s heavily in Nadal’s favour.

    The world No. 4 has largely blown Wawrinka away in their career meetings.

    Nadal-Wawrinka head-to-head

    Head-to-head

    Nadal 15-3 Wawrinka

    On clay

    Nadal 5-1 Wawrinka

    In Grand Slam finals

    Nadal 0-1 Wawrinka

    Last meeting

    2016: Monte-carlo QF – Nadal 6-1 6-4

    Last meeting at Roland Garros

    2013: Quater-finals – Nadal 6-2 6-3 6-1

    The third seed has only come out on top on three occasions lost their most recent clash.

    However, he did win their only Grand Slam final meeting.


    What have they said?

    Wawrinka has the mentality for the biggest occasion (Picture: Getty)

    Wawrinka: I think to play Rafa on clay in French Open in a final is probably the biggest challenge you can have in tennis. He’s the best player ever on clay.

    He’s going for his 10th Roland Garros, so it’s something really impressive, something tough. It’s for sure gonna be really difficult. But again, in the end of the day, it’s the final. The pressure is on both players. No one go on the court thinking he has no pressure. We both want to win the title, and we both gonna give it all on the court.

    He’s for sure gonna be the favorite with what he’s done in the past, but also this season already he’s playing so well. So I will have for sure to play my best tennis. But again, I did in the past, so we will see what’s gonna happen on Sunday.

    Can anyone stop this man? (Picture: Getty

    Nadal: It’s true that when he hits hard, he hits really hard. Stopping him can be difficult.

    Again, as I said before, I do not want him to play his game, which means I need to make sure I don’t let him be in that position where he can hit hard.

    I will have to do everything I can to keep him from playing aggressively. If I can play long balls, if I can hit hard, if I can do that, well, I think I will be hopefully able to control him.

    I know he’s dangerous when he plays aggressively, so I need to limit his possibilities. I will play very aggressively, and I don’t want him to take control.


    Prediction?

    Like most people, I’ve backed Nadal from start to finish and that certainly won’t be changing now.

    The Swiss is a massive threat and if anyone can hit through the Spaniard, it’s probably him.

    But Nadal has just been relentless throughout this event, is the undoubted king of clay and I’d expect him to enjoy a relatively comfortable afternoon once more.



    Prediction: Nadal in 4

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