Published: Mon, June 11, 2018
Sports | By Sarah Myers

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

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

The Spanish world number one took his Roland Garros win-loss record to a jaw-dropping 86-2 as he captured his 17th Grand Slam title.

Nadal had come into the year's second Grand Slam high on confidence, after wins in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome.

Thiem is the only man to have beaten Nadal on clay over the past two seasons, including a surprise victory in the Madrid Open quarter-finals last month, but there was no repeat shock on Court Philippe Chatrier as the top seed prevailed 6-4 6-3 6-2.

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.

Can you see Thiem denying Nadal a record-extending 11th title at Roland Garros?

"But having said that Rafa is 32 now, although not that he looks weaker or older, but throughout this tournament he has not looked his very best".

In his two matches against Nadal at the French Open, Thiem has not been able to win even a set.

Nadal wept after being handed the trophy by Australian legend Ken Rosewall - who won the inaugural French Open in 1968.

His uncle thought wrapping around Nadal's left forearm was too tight.

Grass hasn't tended to favour Nadal in recent years, and the return of a fit-again Roger Federer means he'll likely relinquish favourite status in England.

It was the first time in three years that Nadal had dropped a set in Paris.

But in the third set, comfortably ahead by a break at 2-1, something unusual happened-Nadal's left hand cramped.

Nadal's welling eyes during the trophy ceremony provided a moment of vulnerability after a match that had very few of them, apart from a weird interlude in the third set when Nadal abruptly stopped mid-service game with a disconcerted expression and left the baseline to request medical attention for a cramping left hand.

He went on to reach his second consecutive final, where he became the first player to defeat Roger Federer in a Grand Slam final.

"It's incredible now, I can't describe my feelings", a sweat-soaked Nadal told the crowd.

The duo have met nine times throughout their career, all on clay, with Nadal taking six meetings to Thiem's three.

Dominic Thiem was vying for his first Grand Slam title on Sunday.

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

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

To Thiem's credit, he played for broke in Sunday's final, going for winners.

Thiem was considered the stiffest test for Nadal at the French Open and understandably so.

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