Rafael Nadal vs Jannik Sinner: French Open Preview and Prediction
The second seed Rafael Nadal sets up an exciting clash against the Italian teen sensation, Jannik Sinner in the quarterfinals of the open.
Defending his title here, the Spaniard has been ruthless dismissing all his opponents in straight sets so far. This is the first time that Nadal is arriving in Paris without having won a single clay-court title.
On the other hand, Sinner is living the dream in his debut at Roland Garros. He won all his matches in straight sets in the first three rounds before meeting the US Open runner-up Alexander Zverev.
Sinner was in full control leading 6-3 6-3 when the German managed to take the third set 6-4 before the Italian romped home winning the fourth set 6-4 smashing 39 winners in total.
Zverev dropped a bombshell later stating that he had a fever and found it tough to breathe during the match.
Sinner has created three unique records by becoming the youngest quarter-finalist at the French Open since Novak Djokovic in 2006 and the first debutant to make it to the quarters since Nadal in 2005.
He is also the first player born in 2001 to make a grand slam quarterfinal.
“I’ll try to play my own game because if he gets you to run it’s very difficult to win, it is important to have the right balance and not to start with the handbrake on," said Sinner expressing his opinion ahead of the biggest match of his life.
Head to Head record
This is the first meeting between both the players on the tour and that adds a great deal of spice to their clash.
The Spaniard has shown tremendous control in the rallies with his rock-solid defense to thwart his opponents. While Sinner is highly talented, beating Rafa on clay requires a special effort from him.
Eyeing a record 13th French Open title and a 20th grand slam to level with his arch-rival Roger Federer, Nadal is the man to beat.
Rafa has adapted to the slow and heavy conditions due to the change in the balls from Babolat to Wilson.
By not using too much topspin, he has instead flattened out his strokes by hitting through the court more.
Key Stats: Nadal vs Sinner
|Best performance in the French Open||Defending champion and 12-time winner||Quarter-finalist in his debut|
|Win-loss record in Roland Garros||97-2||4-0|
|Sets lost so far||0||1|
Sinner's keys to success have been his formidable forehand and cool composure. He is not afraid to play aggressively with his all-court game against the big players.
His endurance will be put to full test against Nadal. If his service games are strong, it would help him to gain momentum.
"He’s young, he’s improving every single week, it will be the first time playing against him on the tour, I practiced with him a couple of times, he has amazing potential, he moves the hand very quick and he’s able to produce amazing shots,” said Nadal praising Sinner ahead of the clash.
Sinner does resemble some shades of Nadal with his fearless tennis and a strong game from the baseline. 15 years ago, the Spaniard reached fame winning his first slam at Roland Garros.
Now he is the undisputed king of clay who has thoroughly pulverized opponents with his domination on the surface. It remains to be seen if Sinner begins his path to glory from here in a tough battle.
Prediction - Rafael Nadal to win in four sets
Featured Image Credits: Game Set & Talk - YouTube