Rafael Nadal v Stan Wawrinka In the French Open Final, Who’s The Pick?
by Sean Randall | June 10th, 2017, 6:52 pm

I’m really itching to pick Stan Wawrinka to pull the upset tomorrow and stun Rafael Nadal in the French Open final. I say that because Stan has proven over and over again to be a big match, big stage player. And that’s what you have to be to beat Nadal, especially in his house.

That said, Wawrinka’s never done it on the clay at Roland Garros and he’s never beaten Rafa when Rafa has been this in-form.

Yes, there was Australia where Rafa injured himself in the warm-up. And Rome a few years ago when Nadal wasn’t at his best. But now, Nadal’s confidence has to be sky-high having not dropped a set and only giving up a mere 29 games in six matches.

Rafa’s also dominated Stan winning 15 of 18 and 6 of 7 on the clay. If there’s hope for the Swiss, it’s that they’ve split their last six meetings, but like I said, this is a different Rafa. One that’s in full flight.

And the only time they played at the French was in 2013 when Rafa crushed him 6-2, 6-3, 6-1. That was also the first Grand Slam Stan had Magnus Norman with him.

Rafa’s also undefeated in French Open finals at 9-0. Hell, no one has even won two sets off him in the title match.

So all the numbers point to Rafa. But that’s how it usually is when Stan makes a final. He’s the underdog.

Not many pick him and all he does is prove them wrong. Back in Australia, at the French a few years ago and at the US Open last summer. Nope, Stan can’t win. Yet somehow he does.

In the matchup, Stan will have to go on the attack and serve well. And I’m sure he be in attack mode, but his serve is unpredictable.

And I think early on Stan needs to make an impression. He doesn’t have to win the first set, but he has to show that he can take the punch.

For Rafa, he’ll need a good serving day to set up his forehand. If he serves a high number, Stan’s done. But if Stan can get into Rafa’s service games – remember how Roger Federer’s been doing just that this year with the backhand – and make Rafa think, then he’ll be in business.

Stan has to put some doubt in Rafa’s head. Dominic Thiem never did that. Nor do I think Thiem actually believed he could win.

Stan has beaten Rafa in a Slam final and he has won the French Open. So he’ll have the belief.

The problem for Stan is while he’s a 3-0 in Slam finals, Rafa is 9-0 in French Open finals. And 9-0 beats 3-0 every day of the week. So the King stays King.
The Pick: Nadal in 4

An upset here wouldn’t surprise. Stan’s better than Thiem and Thiem did beat Rafa last month. And Rafa hasn’t really faced anyone other than Thiem who going in might offer some resistance, like a Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori or even a JW Tsonga or Milos Raonic. So like Simona Halep today, Thiem maybe just wasn’t ready for it. We know Stan is.

NBC will have live coverage of the final starting at 9am. And that’s it for the clay!

You Might Like:
Poll: Who’s Your Early 2016 Australian Open Favorite? Can Anyone Beat Novak Djokovic?
Sadly, Here’s Who Won’t Be At Indian Wells
Djokovic v Wawrinka For The Right To Play Murray In The Australian Open Final, Who’s The Pick?
Poll: Who’s Your Pick To Win The 2015 Australian Open?
Rafael Nadal v Stan Wawrinka In The Australian Open Final, Who’s The Pick? Roger-Rafa Redux

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

24 Comments for Rafael Nadal v Stan Wawrinka In the French Open Final, Who’s The Pick?

skeezer Says:

Nadal in 3. He has returned in the Beast mode on Clay.
Stuttgart draw is out. Fed has a tough half of the draw with many old nemesis that have caused him problems. His first match? Looks like Haas.

Humble Rafa Says:


There is another big tournament going on right now where someone is trying to win his 10th grandslam. Minor league tournaments can wait.

skeezer Says:

^yes O Holy One. Good luck tomorrow.

James Says:

Nadal in 3. Stan doesn’t step in enough on his backhand – unless he retooled it yesterday. Nadal will keep pounding the backhand with high topspin shots until it disintegrates. As usual.

andrea Says:

i’d also love the upset…rafa certainly has hi mojo back though.

it is the curse of the one handed back-hand though and rafa’s relentless policy on clay. stan’s back hand is different than fed’s and theim’s though and he has amazing ability to change direction on it with depth. stan should also get more free points in the form of aces.

rognadfan Says:

I wouldn’t get on “Nadal in easy 3 sets” wagon so fast. True that Nadal has been close to ‘the beast’ mode this FO, but Wawrinka has been pretty impressive too (for the most part anyway).
But that’s not all, Nadal Wawrinka matches post 2013 have had totally different dynamics compared to earlier meetings.
Arguably, Nadal was not on top of his game at that time but that will hardly matter if Wawrinka stays on top of his game. Unlike against Thiem, Nadal surely won’t be able to dictate that much by going to Stan’s BH (that’s true even with the highest bouncing topspins).
So if nadal doesn’t serve great, he is going to be pushed too far back and will have to hit too many passing shots. That means Stan will have good chance to win point(s)/set(s).

Long story short, I am expecting pretty tight match tomorrow, although, I think Rafa will be the victor in the end.

Regardless of who wins tomorrow, it’ll be at the expense of an animal.

Suresh Says:

Coming to the final, Stan is the reigning US open champion. After Rafa’s last slam, Stan won 2 slams. Stan has all the tools for the huge huge ‘FINAL’. Hope to see an exciting final. This is a huge moment for Stan also. Perhaps even bigger than all his other slam finals. He will be immortalised if he wins given the current level of Rafa.

James Says:

Stan will also be tired from the 4.5 hour grinding on friday – he doesn’t have the fitness that Nadal, Djokovic or Murray have. He is heavier, and was visibly exhausted and weary by the end on friday.

Lets see. I would love to see a 5-setter here, but its going to be Nadal in 3, most likely. If Stan is really hungry, Nadal might serve him a bagel or a breadstick as well.

James Says:

Nadal is very generous on clay in feeding hungry opponents well – look at Basilashvili – he served him a full meal, two bagels and a breadstick. Rarely does anyone go back hungry from Nadal on clay!

Nits Says:

@James :) :)

Humble Rafa Says:


Your IQ is very high. No one leaves hungry this year at the FO.

Willow Says:

Hopefully Rafa, 3, 4, 5 sets dont care, hoping for 10 and 15, expecting a tough match, Stans played amazing all fortnight ….

Danica Says:

I am not going to be surprised if Stan somehow manages the win. But it’s unlikely. He will again have a minor nervous breakdown in the locker room. By the time he gets his wits straight, it will be 1:0 for Rafa in sets.

Ty Tran Says:

In my piece regarding “Sports Betting as an Investment” that I wrote on Steemit 6 days ago, I stated that Stan Wawrinka is the only player that can ruin my payday (as I placed a $2000 bet on Nadal before the tournament started). I have since “hedged” my wagers, however, my wallet still prefers Nadal to win. However, I have this eerie feeling – the same feeling I had two years ago – when Stan was playing Novak in the 2015 French Open final. Novak was unbeatable then, until Stan beat him in four sets. In his last two Grand Slam wins both against Novak, he lost the first set. I think Rafa should let Stan win the first set to distrupt his mental state (make Stan start thinking about the moment) rather than take the first set and have Stan keep battling it out. Either way, with that scenario, I see this final going to 4 sets. My wallet is on Nadal but I have this nagging feeling that Stan will pull the upset somehow.

Navdeep Says:

Nadal in 3 or 4 sets. We must not forget that this is RG n Rafa has just lost twice in 80 matches. You need an act of Sod to win against him( 2015 Rafa could have lost to any top player, he was awful) So it’s s just not about final, Nadal is literally unbeatable in French open.

Danica Says:

Soderling also beat an unhealthy Rafa. Just for the record ;)

mike Says:

Magnus Norman’s impendence wait in the shadow

Yoda Says:

If Nadal wins he has 10 RG which is almost the same as 9.
His fans(Many or some i think many) will go crazy (Rafa is unmatched loses only when injured or not 100%) thus undermining everyone else. If Stan wins
His fans will be simply happy he won Nadal fans will be happy and say Rafa is back he will get another shot. But fans of other players will go crazy and (Many or some i think many) will undermine Rafa losing to a Stan. weak era king etc…
Second is preference (generally) Stan is an attacking player Rafa is defensive. so if you like A you take A – B you take B)
3rd Doping control in tennis is non existent, don’t know if its a clean sport.Plus the theory if one is doping everyone does is weak. Also because of the Russian hackers we know there were players (cant remember how many) that had special permission to use banned drugs. All those things are enough to make a logical person not get fanatic for a player. Watch the match sure be happy if its a good match yea happy that your player won makes sense. But go crazy like a hooligan in a football field, insulting everyone.
Simply by less fun craziness i go with Stan, but i am fine either way

P.s Who is up for a bet i say the number of comments hating Rafa if Stan wins or hating Roger Novak etc if Nadal wins will get to 1000 in the RG youtube video

gonzalowski Says:

Sean, nice article but, Tsonga or Raonic troubling Rafa at this RG????? 😮
it sounds like the last and desperate argument from a door-to-door salesman!

gonzalowski Says:

Yoda, reasonable and moderate argument about doping IMO

Michael Says:

It is going to very difficult for Wawarinka on Court unless Rafa’s level of play slides down to a significant extent irrespective of how well he plays. The H2H record against Rafa is also not looking that great for Wawarinka. But the silver lining for him would be that whenever he reaches a Slam final he lifts the trophy. Will this trend repeat today ? Very difficult to say as Rafa is playing at another different level and very hungry to bite his atrocious and ridiculous 10th title, a feat which has not been done in Tennis before in both the genders. So, this final is heavily loaded in favour of Rafa unless and until a miracle happens and Wawarinka takes a leaf from his Swiss Counterpart, the legendary Roger Federer to turn the tables with some breathtaking shots when they are mostly needed at opportune moments.

RZ Says:

Big negative for Stan heading into this final: his outfit is not ugly. He tends to win when wearing ugly clothes

Andrew Miller Says:

Nadal demolished Wawrinka, and I had picked Stan because he seemed unbeatable at the slam final stage. Nope! Nadal looked ten years younger and ten years fresher and maybe even ten years better out there. That was some display.

Top story: Rafael Nadal Withdraws From China Events, Novak Djokovic In Prime Position For No. 1