Nadal to continue progress
Nadal to continue progress

Rafa Nadal will take on Dominic Thiem for a place in the French Open final and should have too much power for the Austrian youngster.
Nadal has now rediscovered his best form and is a n/a favourite to win a 10th title at Roland Garros.

After a few years when his form dipped and injuries took their toll, the Spaniard has regained his confidence and is striking the ball as well as he ever has, with three clay-court wins this year already.

Add to that three more finals and it is clear that the 'big four' is complete once again.

Standing in the Majorcan's way will be the talented Thiem, who pulled off a shock quarter-final victory over an out-of-sorts Novak Djokovic on Wednesday.

The Serbian ace may not have been at his best, with the likes of John McEnroe questioning his desire, but it was a result that will have sent out a warning to Nadal that he means business.

The duo have met six times to date, with Nadal owning a 4-2 winning head-to-head record, but Thiem has beaten his next opponent on clay already this year.

The 23-year-old downed him in straight sets in the quarter-finals of the Rome Masters and was not disgraced when losing to the 'King of Clay' in the Madrid and Barcelona finals.

In fact all their previous meetings have been on clay, with Thiem, who can be backed at n/a to win the match, pulling off a three-set victory in Buenos Aires early in 2016 for his other success.

Playing Nadal in Paris is a whole new ball game, however, with the left-hander owning the place for more than a decade, and the way he has swept past his opponents in this year's event does not bode well for the world number seven.

He has yet to drop a set and has not required a tie-break in any of his matches, losing just 22 games in the entire tournament after Wednesday's opponent Pablo Carreno Busta withdrew from their match with an abdominal injury while trailing 6-2 2-0.

Thiem will hope that the 31-year-old might be slightly under-cooked heading into the contest but, such is his dominance on clay, Nadal could probably beat anyone with little or no preparation.

These two have enjoyed some decent battles during the clay-court season and there is nothing to suggest that Friday's match-up will not be the same, but it is hard to look past the nine-time champion as a winner.

Recomnded bet: Nadal to win n/a

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