French Open Men’s Final Prediction: Rafael Nadal vs Casper Ruud

Rafael Nadal 2022 French Open

The men’s final at the French Open is set, as 23-year-old Casper Ruud will face his idol, all-time clay great Rafael Nadal. It’s Nadal’s 14th final at the French Open, and he’s 13-0 so far. For Ruud, meanwhile, it’s his first Major final of any kind. It’s also the first meeting between the pair. As always, our writers share their thoughts on the match. Predicting this match are Damian Kust, Jakub Bobro, Ryan Schick, and Jack Edward. Who do you think will win?

French Open Men’s Final Prediction

Rafael Nadal vs Casper Ruud

Damian:

It feels like this only going to be a match if Rafael Nadal has some potential physical problems. But it looks like his foot is allowing him to perform without any bigger issues. While it’s possible that the semifinal against Alexander Zverev would have ended with the Spaniard either losing or completely exhausted, the way it ended up he should have more than enough time to rest up for Sunday.

Casper Ruud has a great clay-court game and was probably the favorite to make it here after Stefanos Tsitsipas lost. The Norwegian probably doesn’t have enough weapons to hurt Nadal though, his forehand gets crazy topspin but it’s not a shot that just finishes neutral rallies instantly, Ruud still has to work out the angles and construct the point, allowing the Spaniard some breathing room. Besides, the nerves of playing in your first Grand Slam final, compared to your 31st are just something else completely. I’ll give Ruud a set, but I’m not confident it will happen.
Prediction: Nadal in 4

Jakub:

Nadal was quite lucky to have only played three hours in the semifinals as Alexander Zverev suffered an ankle injury towards the end of the second set. The match would have almost certainly been over five hours if played out fully, which would have hindered the Spaniard in his final performance as he already looked tired at points in the semifinals. Ruud, who has already won six clay titles in his career, has finally broken through at a slam. Though his run may look easy on paper, Holger Rune or Marin Cilic were certainly tough outs at this French Open. The first meeting between the two, Nadal is still the better player and his experience should help him handle the occasion better than the 23-year-old.
Prediction: Nadal in 4

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Ryan:

Nadal has entered the French Open 18 times and only lost to two players here. Ruud has been playing great but faces a nearly impossible challenge. He posseses many similar skills to Nadal with powerful groundstrokes and strong baseline play. Without a massive serve or other unique weapon, it will be too tough for Ruud to consistently win baseline rallies against Nadal. Ruud will battle but Nadal will cruise to victory.
Prediction: Nadal in 3

Jack:

Casper Ruud has done fantastically well to reach his first Grand Slam final. Despite having never made it past the fourth-round of a major prior to the tournament, Ruud made the most of the best-of-five format this time round in overcoming Lorenzo Sonego from two sets to one down and has since defeated three very tough opponents in four sets. His most telling victory? Taming an on-fire Marin Cilic – Ruud’s serving was incredibly potent after the first set and both his defence and offence on the forehand were effective at finding a way through a huge-hitting opponent.

Going into the final, however, I can’t help but feel worried for the Norwegian. He has never met Rafael Nadal on a tennis court before. His previous four opponents have also been able to dictate rallies for periods of the patch by targeting his backhand wing. Being pulled off the court by Nadal’s lefty forehand is most definitely an area of vulnerability for Ruud as his backhand defence isn’t an exceptional part of his game.

Unfortunately, every part of your game has got to be exceptional against Nadal on Chatrier on the last Sunday of the tournament. It just seems like too bad a match-up on paper.
Prediction: Nadal in 3

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