Sport

Rafael Nadal Wins 11th French Open

Rafael Nadal Wins 11th French Open

The crowd responded, initially offering polite applause, then adding their voices, rising into a full-throated roar.

Nadal said of his cramp: "I was very, very scared".

Nadal became the second player in tennis history to win 11 singles titles at any Grand Slam tournament after Margaret Court, who claimed 11 Australian Open titles. The two stars have combined to win the past six majors. It was a first Grand Slam final for Thiem, a 24-year-old Austrian.

His lead was reminiscent of their semifinal at the French Open past year, when Nadal also held the early advantage. Nadal first triumphed from 2005-2008 before being halted by Robin Soderling in the fourth round in 2009.

Dominic Thiem couldn't get near the veteran on the day, despite the fact the Austrian had been the only player to defeat Nadal on Clay during this current season.

That said, Nadal is wary of Thiem's threat.

But Thiem, unusually standing up to Nadal's first serve, forced two break points in the next game and converted the second with a flashing forehand into the right corner. The Austrian has been broken early and pushed to deuce in each of his service games, while Nadal is largely comfortable on serve. He attempted drop shots; some worked, some didn't.




Thiem is in trouble as Nadal breaks to take a 2-0 lead in the second set.

Thiem has been unable to find a rhythm, making 30 unforced errors to Nadal's 19 so far.

It worked. For a bit.

That was swatted away with Nadal's double-handed backhand, though, and the second set duly went the way of the favourite. But from 4-all in the opening set, Nadal grabbed five games in a row and was in charge. A forehand wide. A forehand into the net. He's now at 17 Grand Slam trophies, but Sunday's match also brought him to a new territory of supremacy.

Nadal, however, soon recovered to complete the match under overcast conditions. Any hopes of an upset all but disappeared along with the ragged Thiem forehand which sailed way beyond the baseline.

Seemingly cruising to victory, that's when Nadal called for the trainer. "Of course, it's really a great thing that I made my way and that I was competing in a final against him". He removed the taping from his left forearm, and maybe that let the blood flow better.


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