'Physically easier to watch Nadal on TV', says beaten Thiem

11 June, 2018, 02:12 | Author: Suzanne Horton
  • Rafael Nadal

Nadal has never lost a best-of-five-set match on clay when he has won the first set, and every time Thiem has faced the world number one the victor of the first set has gone on to take the match.

"I am sure", Nadal said after the match, "you will win here in the next couple of years".

'I can't describe my feelings.

Nadal's introduction included a year-by-year accounting of every time he'd already won the title at Roland Garros.

He hit a forehand long for 0-30 and then hit another forehand into the net to gift Nadal three set points.

Nadal's win-loss record at the French Open, his only two losses coming against Swede Robin Soderling in the fourth round in 2009 and against Djokovic in the quarterfinals in 2015.

Thiem found some life and threatened with a break point in the seventh game, but Nadal broke his pace with a drop shot and finished it off with a passing shot, holding for 5-2.

He still won the game anyway before summoning the doctor and trainer courtside.


If there was a scare for Nadal it was an outbreak of cramp in his left hand in the third set, which he managed to shake off, like everything else this fortnight.

Rafael Nadal of Spain returns the ball during the men's singles final against Dominic Thiem of Austria at the French Open Tennis Tournament 2018 in Paris, France on June 10, 2018. That led to 34 winners (eight more than Nadal), but also 42 unforced errors (18 more than Nadal).

The 32-year-old Spaniard is also vying for his 17th major trophy, which would move him within three of Roger Federer. The second set was rife with lost opportunities for the up-and-coming Austrian, who might one day claim a French Open title of his own - but quite possibly after Nadal has stepped away.

By contrast, Thiem was competing in his maiden major final and although he matched his illustrious opponent for large parts of the opening set, he crumbled at the crunch and never really regained his poise.

Whatever the problem, his dominance remained and a love game took him to 4-2 before he eventually sealed victory on a fifth match point when the Austrian fired another backhand long.

He saved another two in the 11-minute sixth game, a performance cheered by the crowd who briefly became more animated when glum-looking French football icon Zinedine Zidane was spotted in the stadium. Nadal then holds to 15 to go 3-0 up.

Key statistics: First serve percentage - Nadal 65%, Thiem 45%.

The 10-time champion is playing Dominic Thiem. He pounded huge serves, topping 135 miles per hour (220 kph) - about 25 miles per hour (40 kph) more than Nadal's fastest - and that translated into seven aces, but also five double-faults.

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