Rafael Nadal wins 'incredible' 11th French Open title

Rex Christensen
June 14, 2018

But Nadal roared into the 2017 Australian Open final, losing to Federer, then captured his record 10th French Open crown in June previous year, setting the stage for another title run in the Flushing Meadows fortnight at the US Open in September.

"To play in 12 months three Grand Slam finals, for me means a lot", said the 26-year-old Halep.

The Spaniard was at his awe-inspiring best as he trampled Austrian Dominic Thiem to snatch a record-extending 11th French Open title with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 win on Sunday. He removed the tape from his left wrist and seemed to take a tablet. But as Nadal's uncle, Toni Nadal, said shortly afterwards, "this is not normal".

Still, Nadal was able to complete the job on court Philippe-Chatrier.

Rafael Nadal won his 11th French Open title yesterday when he defeated Dominic Thiem in the final. He is, however, the second player overall to win a major 11 times after Australia's Margaret Court, who won four of her 11 Australian Open titles after the start of the Open Era in 1968.

It was a tall ask for Thiem to take the battle the full distance as Nadal had never been beaten in a major final with a two-set advantage.

The Swiss legend last played in March when he suffered a first round exit in the Miami Open at the hands of Thanasi Kokkinakis, which also saw him lose his No. 1 ranking to Nadal as a result.

Nadal bagged his first French Open title in 2005 and has been unstoppable on clay ever since.

Nadal, 32, won 6-4 6-3 6-2 to earn his 17th Grand Slam, three adrift of Roger Federer's all-time men's record. But from 4-all in the opening set, Nadal grabbed five games in a row and was in charge.

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"It's really incredible. I played a great match against a great player", said Nadal. He lost the first set, then turned things around after a rain delay.

But Thiem showed resilience in getting two break points on Nadal's serve.

Thiem, though, knows he isn't the only player to have succumbed to Nadal at the French Open. After guzzling water during that break, Nadal felt better and was back to playing his unmistakable brand of almost unbeatable clay-court tennis.

The problem for the 24-year-old was that his serve wasn't co-operating.

Nadal sits barely ahead of No 2 Roger Federer on Monday (Tuesday NZ Time), with a 100-point lead of 8770 to 8670.

Thiem was hampered by his many unforced errors after long rallies.

While we have an edge here, I appreciate that backing a heavy odds-on shot isn't most people's cup of tea, so the game handicap should be a viable proposition.

His lone opportunity of the set indeed vanished.

Thiem, mixing heavy topspin and flat groundstrokes and angling balls across the sidelines, saved a break point at 1-2 and two more at 2-3 and there were signs that Nadal was struggling with his timing - over-cooking several forehands. He was visited by the trainer that day, too, with Nadal saying it was to prevent sweat from traveling to his hand.

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