June 21, 2018

Rafael Nadal beats Dominic Thiem for his 11th French Open title

10 June 2018, 10:36 | Joan Schultz

Rafael Nadal has already won 10 titles at Roland Garros. | Cameron Spencer Getty Images

Rafael Nadal

The world No. 1 defeated Dominic Thiem in straight sets to become just the second player to win 11 titles at one Grand Slam after Margaret Court and the first to achieve the feat entirely in the Open Era. The match was paused for a few minutes near the end of the third set while Nadal was seen by trainers.

Nadal appeared to be suffering with cramp in his left arm early in the third but even that discomfort could not derail him as the "King of Clay" extended his scarcely believable French Open win-loss record to 86-2, further underlining his status as the greatest of all time on the red dirt. He removed the tape from his left wrist and seemed to take a tablet.

For 24-year-old Thiem, playing in his first Grand Slam final, it was a deflating defeat for the only man to have beaten the Spaniard on clay in the last two years.

Court's titles at her home Major came in 1960-66, 1969-71 and 1973.

Nadal has never lost at Roland Garros following an opening set victory. Nadal's streak began at Roland Garros previous year and was ended by Thiem, who beat the Spaniard in straight sets in the quarterfinals of the Madrid Open. "Best of five is also different story". Closing his eyes for a brief moment to take in the sounds all around him, Nadal rejoined to reality as he always does, turning to the crowd and applauding with them.

After Nadal won the first six points and went up 2-0 in the opening set, Thiem began to find his rhythm and was able to start pushing back.

Why? Nadal was 95-0 when capturing the opener on clay in the best of five format.

He has come close in Paris before, losing in the semifinals a year ago (to Nadal) and in 2016 (to Novak Djokovic).

"I am sure", Nadal said after the match, "you will win here in the next couple of years".

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Thiem dug in - especially in the roughly 13-minute sixth game - but he crumbled attempting to stay in the set, making four unforced errors.

- Nadal breaks in the second game as Thiem nets a forehand. He dropped serve on a fifth break chance.

Fair enough Thiem was demolished by Nadal in last year's semi-final in Paris but today's seventh seed has added more aggression and self belief to his game.

His lone opportunity of the set indeed vanished.

Nadal is looking as comfortable as ever on the Philippe Chatrier court where has previously won the title 10 times.

The Spaniard leads 4-3 in the first set.

Certainly, Nadal played a role.

Yet he just wouldn't be denied.

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