French Open final’s first two sets saw Thiem beating Nadal at his own game. The last two saw the champion change up the tactics.
Surprisingly, Nadal was losing the baseline slugfest. Nadal only won 45 (20/44) per cent of his baseline points in the first set, and 38 per cent (13/34) in the second. In the 2018 final, Nadal had recorded a success rate of 61 per cent from the baseline.
Nadal also won 46 per cent (16/35) of 9+ stroke rallies in the two sets. Again a contrast to last year, where he won 65 per cent of such rallies.
Cutting ‘em short
With going blow-for-blow proving tough, Nadal began to end the rallies quickly. Opposed to the 35 extended rallies, Nadal only played 11 in the final two sets. Nadal also defeated Thiem in the 0-4 shot rallies, winning 29 to Thiem’s 14.
Thiem hung back even as Nadal began rushing. Thiem recorded a success rate of 80 per cent (12/15) at the net. Nadal doubled the tally at 85 per cent (23/27). In the 4th set, Nadal won 8 points at net compared to Thiem’s 2.
Stats: Craig O’Shannessy/ATP