Rafael Nadal beats Dominic Thiem to win record 11th Roland Garros title
Rafael Nadal beats Dominic Thiem to win record 11th Roland Garros title
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11 June, 2018, 04:57
"It's unbelievable now, I can't describe my feelings", a sweat-soaked Nadal told the crowd.
But those are not quite the same as the French Open, where Nadal is 86-2 for his career.
The King of Clay. The other three are Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall and Federer, all of whom have won four each.
Understandably, Thiem looked edgy as the match begun and he managed to win only one of the first eight points as Nadal, cheered loudly when he walked on court, bristled with intent.
A dejected Nadal suffered a stunning loss against Robin Soderling at the French Open. In 2015, he was defeated by a seemingly-unstoppable Novak Djokovic.
Thiem, a 24-year-old from Austria, was appearing in a major final for the first time. Could he shock the world and defeat Nadal at Roland Garros? The Spaniard officially withdrew before the start of his third-round match in 2016.
Nadal celebrated in relatively low key fashion, but then there is not much novelty value in this.
"It's fantastic, bravo. I saw you win this in 2005 when I was just 11 years old".
"Admitting his mental composure was a bit fragile, but that is a chance for Thiem".
Come rain or shine, the passing of the years or a worrying attack of cramp in the hand, nothing seems to be able to stop Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros.
"Thiem has to believe".
We picked up a victor in Friday's semi-final with Rafa Nadal comprehensively thrashing Juan Martin Del Potro, to cover the -6.5 game handicap easily. Could Thiem provide us with a classic final? The No. 1 men's tennis player in the world cruised on Friday - looking vintage in domination -, who entered the French Open semis as No. 6 player in the ATP World Tour rankings.
Just like that, Nadal was off on a five-game burst to lead 3-0 in the second set. "And, of course, it was not nice to lose the first set, but still it was not a key point of today". Nadal held for 5-4, and Thiem basically handed over the next game - and the set - with four mistakes. One down-the-line forehand victor landed right at the baseline, leaving Thiem sagging his shoulders and muttering. The French Open statisticians are nicer than they should be, as all but one of Thiem's 19 errors in that stretch were unforced (officially, 12 were unforced and seven were forced).
There was still fight in Thiem, though, and he had a break point when Nadal served at 4-2 ― a game in which the Spaniard was warned for taking too long to serve.
Rafael Nadal looks borderline unbeatable at the moment. It clearly impacted his serve moving forward, but not his ground strokes.
After the victory - which saw Nadal claim his 17th Grand Slam title in total, just three behind Roger Federer's all-time record of 20 - social media was quick to laud the 32-year-old's staggering achievement. Nadal is 49-2 since 2017 when playing on clay. The two stars have combined to win the past six Slams.
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Key in that regard was his backhand, which consistently flustered Thiem, who didn't have the same bag of tricks at his disposal. Sunday's championship victory was as convincing and efficient a Grand Slam title as nearly any other in Nadal's epic career.
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