Rafael Nadal defeats Dominic Thiem, wins his 11th French Open title

Ross Houston
June 11, 2018

Nadal dealt with that ultimately minor inconvenience and claimed his record-extending 11th French Open championship Sunday by displaying his foe-rattling excellence in a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 victory over No. 7 seed Dominic Thiem.

For the past two years, Thiem has been threatening to encroach on Nadal's territory. Only two players have ever come from two sets down to beat the Spaniard, and neither of those occasions was on his favourite surface.

The muscular Spaniard had won all 10 of his previous Roland Garros finals and although Thiem was the only man to have beaten him on clay over the past two seasons, the Austrian never threatened the claycourt master on Sunday.

As he sat down in the French Open lounge on Saturday, Günter Bresnik, Dominic Thiem's coach, was asked about Thiem's upcoming French Open final against Rafael Nadal, the finest clay court tennis player of all time.

The clay courts of Roland Garros host the second Grand Slam of the season.

Nadal has won six of his nine matches against Thiem, all of them coming on that famously hard red clay.


"I think today I played my best match of the tournament", Nadal said.

Rafael Nadal won his 11th French Open title on Sunday.

Australian tennis great Ken Rosewall has celebrated the 50th anniversary of his Roland Garros triumph with the honour of presenting Rafael Nadal with his 11th Coupe des Mousquetaires trophy.

With Novak Djokovic far from his best and Andy Murray still a question mark after hip surgery, per Kevin Mitchell of the Guardian, the route for the likes of Federer and Nadal is about as clear as they could hope.

But Nadal held with some clever drop shots and after taking the second set it merely became a race against time to finish off Thiem before the rain arrived.

But from the moment Nadal broke serve in the 10th game to win the opening set Thiem's belief ebbed away.


"In the third set I noticed I had cramps in my left hand, I was scared because there was a lot of humidity", he explained in his post-match interview.

Thiem, a 24-year-old from Austria, was appearing in a major final for the first time.

57 is the number of titles Nadal holds on the clay court.

Sunday's win was Nadal's 17th major trophy, only putting him three behind Roger Federer.

The Spaniard now inches closer to Roger Federer's all-time record of 20 Grand Slam titles. Like so numerous pretenders, Thiem just did not have quite the same level of consistency to derail the Spaniard, who ruthlessly targeted his flowing backhand.

However, it was not all smooth for Nadal, who missed four match points on his own serve before clinching victory when Thiem went long on the fifth. That was part of a five-game run that sent Nadal on his way. Now, six Slams later, Federer still keeps his lead at three.


Certainly, Nadal played a role.

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