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

Annette Crawford
June 14, 2018

But how about 15?

Nadal is now the fourth man in the Open Era to win three or more Grand Slams after turning 30, having won his third since turning 30.

However, he fell to a third successive straight-set defeat by the Spaniard at the French Open.

"It's incredible now, I can't describe my feelings", a sweat-soaked Nadal told the crowd. "I don't want to start explaining all the memories that I have, because they are so long".

Nadal also closed the gap on Federer, who won on 20 occasions, on the all-time list for most Grand Slam men's singles titles.

Thiem, playing in his first Grand Slam final, simply had few answers to Nadal's brilliance. "It's fun to see how they match up and how they keep pushing each other".

In some ways, Nadal's opponent on Sunday - 24-year-old Dominic Thiem from Austria - fit the bill as the giant-killer.

The understatement was classic Toni but there was nothing understated about Nadal himself.

"I have never been insane about this kind of stuff", said Nadal. "I would love to be playing in as many places as possible, but you understand I need to check how I feel in the next couple of days". You have to do your way. Overall, the 32-year-old has won 17 Grand Slam championships - the four most important tennis events held annually in France, United States, Britain and Australia.

But once a competive first set went the way of the world number one, the plan became damage limitation and Nadal's "undecima" never looked in any doubt.

Thiem was 11 at the time. Off the court, Nadal never lacks in humility.

Still, Nadal was able to complete the job on court Philippe-Chatrier. But on Sunday, the king of clay chose to wield it like a weapon, and instead of handing the torch over, used it to singe the young pretender.


Shortly, he'd be holding the silver trophy, the one he knows so well, and crying.

"That's my biggest goal, to get into the next one and then to do it better than today", he said. Nadal's introduction included a year-by-year accounting of every time he'd already won the French Open.

'Let me enjoy this title, ' he said after the 6-4 6-3 6-2 win.

At the Australian Open last January, a depleted Halep fell to Caroline Wozniacki in a gruelling three-set final.

But Nadal roared into the 2017 Australian Open final, losing to Federer, then captured his record 10th French Open crown in June a year ago, setting the stage for another title run in the Flushing Meadows fortnight at the US Open in September.

Nadal said the 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 victory in 2 hours, 42 minutes was his best match of the tournament. Even while the crowd cheered the name Dominic Thiem ahead of the big final on Sunday evening (June 10) in Paris and so did the analysts and veterans of the game, it was Rafael Nadal who dominated throughout keeping the Austrian frustrated throughout the game.

Just like that, Nadal was off on a five-game burst to lead 3-0 in the second set. He lost the first set - the only one he actually dropped - then turned things around following a rain delay.

A trainer was called and he briefly inspected Nadal's left wrist.

But Thiem showed resilience in getting two break points on Nadal's serve.

Seventh seed Thiem is the only player to have beaten Nadal on clay in the past two years, and he claimed he had a plan to thwart the Spaniard in Paris. And now, the Spanish sample seems to be the favorite even on other surfaces.

Thiem was hampered by his many unforced errors after long rallies.

"In general, it was - game wise - a good game".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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