Arguably the most intriguing second round match-up is the one between defending champion Rafael Nadal and budding Austrian talent Dominic Thiem. While the two competitors have never crossed paths on the professional tour, the stage is set for them to put on a show in Paris.
On a day where Stan Wawrinka was upset in the opening round against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, the world No. 1 faced an incredibly easy opening round contest against America’s Robby Ginepri. The Spaniard won 6-0, 6-3, 6-0 to set up a fantastic second round encounter with Thiem.
“I won this round, but it was a bit difficult because of the weather,” said Nadal, “but it was very important for me, because it gave me the opportunity of having two days’ break so that I can practise. That’s always positive. When you win, you’re always happy. Of course, as always, I had ups and downs, and I could have played being a bit more aggressive.”
- Nadal is now 60-1 in Paris.
- Rafa has won 8 of the last 9 French Open titles.
- He is looking to become the first ever player to win the French Open title 5 straight times.
World No. 57 Dominic Thiem reached the second round of the French Open with a strong victory in his opener against Paul-Henri Mathieu. The Austrian won 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-2 to set up the first-time encounter with Nadal.
“I heard very, very good things about him,” said Nadal. “I didn’t see him play, but I know he’s a young player and he’s a very dangerous opponent.”
This marks the first time these two talented athletes will step across court from each other. While Nadal should be considered a hefty favourite during this bout, Thiem has managed some remarkable wins this season, including a opening round upset over Stan Wawrinka in Madrid. With the way seeded players continue to fall in Paris this year, anything is possible on Thursday afternoon.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal in Four Sets