Rafael Nadal defeats Dominic Thiem, wins his 11th French Open title
11 June, 2018, 01:15 | Author: Suzanne Horton
Nadal threw his arms skywards and turned to his entourage including coach and fellow Mallorcan Carlos Moya and his uncle Toni, who stood down from his coaching role a year ago after his nephew worn his 10th French crown.
Thiem says he is "confident" his first appearance in a Grand Slam final will not be his last. "Bravo. To me it's been still great two weeks".
In fact, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic moving forward. The Spaniard also became the first man in the Open Era to win at least 400 matches on both clay and hard courts.
The problem for the 24-year-old was that his serve wasn't co-operating. Nadal appeared to take more tablets. Some of the moves and shots he displayed against del Poltro were throwbacks to 2010 and 2011.
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 and Thiem have met nine times - all of them on clay.
- Nadal when asked how long he will keep playing.
The Austrian is hitting is stride, and seems to be in his prime, and so we could be in for a compelling final. "It's definitely one of the best things somebody ever achieved in sport".
Nadal's introduction included a year-by-year accounting of every time he'd already won the title at Roland Garros. In this tournament, Nadal's only lost one set.
Although Thiem stood tall and broke Nadal early in the opening frame, he fell apart with a chance to knot things at five games apiece and ceded the set to Nadal at love. At this point, tennis enthusiasts would likely welcome it - but might just as well appreciate Nadal if he were to overpower his way to another Coupe des Mousquetaires piece of hardware. The Spaniard's 11th Monte Carlo title and his eighth Rome title were his 31st and 32nd Masters titles, respectively, breaking a tie with Djokovic, who has won 30.
Thiem stayed with Nadal in the early going on a cloudy and steamy afternoon; the temperature was 77 degrees (24 Celsius), the humidity approached 70 per cent.
The match turned at 5-4 when, on the first point, Thiem missed a simple forehand volley. Stamina will also prove critical, because here's the crucial detail for Thiem: his two wins over Nadal came in three-set matches, not five.
The Austrian - competing in his first grand slam final after a pair of semifinal showings in Paris - needed to win the first set to have any realistic opportunity of ending Nadal's reign.
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.
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