Paris, France: Rafael Nadal beat Dominic Thiem in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2, to clinch his 11th French Open (Roland-Garros) title at the final in Paris on Sunday.
The defending clay court king gained a quick break for a 2-0 lead in the opening seven minutes but Thiem, who was competing in his first major final, broke straight back to keep level with Nadal until a string of errors while serving at 4-5 conceded the primary advantage.
Nadal pulled away in the second set by making another early break count with a strong serve and his trademark ferocious forehand as Thiem began to crumble under relentless pressure.
The 16-time grand slam champion Nadal had a brief medical scare in the final set but, after Thiem saved four match points, a long return settled the Court Philippe Chatrier contest after two hours and 42 minutes.
Nadal has now won 17 Grand Slam titles – three lesser than great rival Roger Federer – and matched the all-time record of most titles won at the same Grand Slam event set by Margaret Court at the Australian Open during the 1960s and 70s.
Nadal now stands at 86-2 at French Open and continues to remain unbeaten in finals in Paris. In those 10 finals, Nadal has dropped just six sets but at no stage in the final on Sunday did it look like the number could rise further. Thiem had been the only player to have beaten Nadal on clay in the last two years – in Rome last year and Madrid this year – but at no stage did he pose a real threat to Nadal who went from strength to strength as the match went on.
The result also marks the sixth consecutive Grand Slam won by either Nadal or Federer.
In the third set, Nadal suffered a blip as he called for the trainer for a cramp in his left hand. The trainer massaged Nadal’s forearms twice but it was still not good enough to halt the Spaniard and the job was complete when Thiem’s backhand sailed long.
“It’s amazing, I can’t describe my feelings because it’s not even a dream to win here 11 times. It’s impossible to think something like this.” Rafael Nadal said.