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French Open: Thiem to provide Nadal with tough test

Rafael Nadal began the French Open as the firm favourite to win the men's singles and now stands just one match away from completing his 11th title on the Paris clay.

The Spaniard has once again looked unbeatable and the French Open odds suggest it is a formality that he will reign again, with Nadal just 1/5 to beat Dominic Thiem on Sunday.

His record of just two defeats from 87 matches at the French Open highlights the size of the task facing Thiem in his first grand slam final.

Only once in the last fortnight has Nadal appeared in any trouble when 11th seed Diego Schwartzman took the only set of the tournament off him but the Paris rain helped Nadal out before he completed victory the next day.

Nadal may have just turned 32 but looks as fit as ever and there seems little chance of his fitness letting him down in the final.

So does 3/1 underdog Thiem have any chance? Well the seventh seed can take confidence from two victories over the world number one on clay in the last 13 months, including in straight sets in Madrid just last month.

"For sure I can take some things from that," he said. "If I want to beat him, I have to play that way like I did in Rome and in Madrid.

"But I'm also aware that here it's tougher. He likes the conditions more here than in Madrid, for sure. And best of five sets is also a different story. He's a big favourite against everybody, but I know how to play against him. I have a plan."

Thiem reached the semi-finals in the previous two years so has some experience of the big stage but this is the biggest match of his career at the age of 24.

Beating Nadal in a French Open final may be a step too far but if Thiem can hold his nerve he can certainly pose problems. We're taking the Austrian to win at least one set at odds of 4/6 as our Nadal vs Thiem betting tip.

Traders' Tips - View from the trading floor

The 2018 men's final will see the king of clay Rafael Nadal aiming to win an unprecedented 11th Roland Garros title. In his way stands a Dominic Thiem who is appearing in his first ever grand slam final. Although Nadal is the resounding favourite, Thiem can take some encouragement from the way Diego Schwartzman played for the first set and a half of his quarter-final with Rafa, taking the first set and really making him work for the win. Head to head between the two currently stands 6-3 in Nadal's favour. However, the Austrian came out with a straight-sets victory in their most recent encounter just last month in Madrid. This will without a doubt be Nadal's toughest test of the championship and we fancy a strongly contested final but the Spaniard's experience of winning here (has never lost any of his previous 10 finals) will see him through to win in four sets.

Warren Barner
@warren_barner in Tennis