Rafael Nadal beats Dominic Thiem to win record 11th Roland Garros title

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal defended his French Open title defeating Dominic Thiem in dominating fashion 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.

The 32-year-old is also the first man to win the same tournament 11 times, Margaret Court the only other tennis player in history to do so at the Australian Open.

In winning another French Open title, Nadal dropped one set the entire tournament.

The younger challengers struggle to land a punch, and the last six men's Grand Slam titles have now gone in the sequence of Federer-Nadal-Federer-Nadal-Federer-Nadal. "I played a great match against a great player", said Nadal.

Despite there being a wave of momentum now carrying the Spaniard following such a deserved win over Thiem, Nadal's most hard task of the year is yet to come at Wimbledon. Not much more of a daunting task than doing so against this particular opponent at the French Open, where Nadal is now 11-0 in finals and 86-2 overall.

"It's unbelievable now, I can't describe my feelings", a sweat-soaked Nadal told the crowd. Nadal's introduction included a year-by-year accounting of every time he'd already won the French Open.

In a world bustling with ball-maulers yearning to topple euphorically onto Roland Garros clay or merely stand and raise the arms skyward in triumph just once in life, Rafael Nadal did so Sunday for a preposterous 11th time, even while choosing the standing option for only the second. However, in Open Era, he is the first player ever (man or woman) to complete La Undécima in a single Grand Slam event.

Some wishful anticipation had been made of the fact that, 30 days prior, Thiem had beaten Nadal on the clay of Madrid, but Thiem reminded everyone Friday that the clay of Madrid is not the clay of Paris.

A glimmer of hope was when the middle finger on his left hand started to cramp in the middle of the fourth game, causing him to take a salt tablet and have the strapping on his forearm to be removed, which is there to stop the sweat pouring onto his palms.

But Thiem, unusually standing up to Nadal's first serve, forced two break points in the next game and converted the second with a flashing forehand into the right corner.

But the Austrian freed his shoulders and broke back in the third game with a forehand victor - pumping his fists in the direction of coach Gunter Bresnik.

Thiem put up a good fight in his opening service game of the third set, saving four breakpoints.

But he could not match Nadal's point-by-point consistency and intensity on Sunday. After Nadal held there for 5-4, Thiem basically handed over the next game - and the set - by making four mistakes in a row. Those conditions might have contributed to the cramping that affected Nadal about two hours into the final, at 2-1 in the third set.



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