Rafael Nadal Wins 11th French Open

Rafael Nadal Wins 11th French Open

Rafael Nadal defended his French Open title defeating Dominic Thiem in dominating fashion 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.

Dominic Thiem of Austria was no match for the veteran, and the cramp was simply the latest in a significant string of fitness issues which have plagued Nadal over the course of the competition.

Nadal had come into the year's second Grand Slam high on confidence, after wins in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome. He also beat the Spaniard in Buenos Aires in 2016.

Thiem beat Nadal on clay twice, including last month in Madrid that ended Nadal's 21-match winning streak on clay and his streak of 50 straight sets won on his favorite surface.

He persists at his punishing physicality and pounding shots even 13 long and grinding years after the wonder from the Spanish island of Mallorca debuted at Roland Garros with sleeveless shirts, clam-digger shorts, shoulder-length hair and MMA muscles, and, two days after his 19th birthday, won his first title and said, "I fight every point, every point, no?" A massive part of Nadal's legend on clay is that he makes players, however good, however aggressive, play on his terms.

Nadal, 32, has won six major titles on grass and hardcourts, but clay is his natural element, like water for Michael Phelps or snow for Marcel Hirscher.

Nadal celebrated in relatively low key fashion, but then there is not much novelty value in this.

Nadal is now the fourth man in the Open Era to win three or more Grand Slams after turning 30, having won his third since turning 30.

More news: China's TCL launches high-end BlackBerry smartphone in U.S.

Nadal struck first in an enthralling opening set, breaking Thiem's first service game to take a two-game lead but they were back on serve immediately as the Austrian hit back.

Such is his motivation to win his 17th Grand Slam on Sunday, that the task facing Austrian 24-year-old Thiem was described as "almost impossible" by Del Potro.

Throw in three titles at the US Open, two at Wimbledon and one at the Australian Open, and Nadal is up to 17 majors, second among men only to Roger Federer's 20.

After winning 26 of his 27 matches throughout the European claycourt season and 81 of his last 86 sets on clay, there is nothing to suggest Nadal's domination in Paris will end soon.

Although Nadal subsequently received treatment on his forearm it seemingly had little adverse effect and, after a second break of serve, his 11th triumph was secured at the fifth time of asking when Thiem sent a return long. After Roland Garros, Nadal's win-loss record on clay stands at 415-36. In the fourth game of the third set, he had the physio attend to his left hand because a finger cramp was making it hard for him to grip the racquet.

We picked up a victor in Friday's semi-final with Rafa Nadal comprehensively thrashing Juan Martin Del Potro, to cover the -6.5 game handicap easily.

American former player Pam Shriver: Bingo legs eleven Rafael Nadal. When he first halted play, Nadal removed that tape, which he said let his circulation improve.

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