Nadal beats Thiem to win 11th French Open - KBC | Kenya's Watching
13 June, 2018, 03:36 | Author: Virgil Todd
Thankfully for Nadal - less so for Thiem - he was able to finish the job and continue his remarkable domination at Roland Garros with a 6-4 6-3 6-2 victory.
The 36-year-old lost the final of the Indian Wells Masters against Juan Martin del Potro and then in the second round at the Miami Open before taking a self-imposed hiatus and skipping the clay court season.
Nadal's latest triumph in Paris sees him join Margaret Court, who dominated the Australian Open in the 1960s and 70s, as the only player to win 11 singles titles at one grand slam.
Thiem did at least remind Nadal of his age, saying; "I can still remember being 11 when (Nadal) won here for the first time and I watched on the TV".
Over the best-of-five sets on clay in 13 years, Nadal improved to 111-2 - a figure nearly as imposing as the nearby Eiffel Tower - his lone reverses coming against Robin Soderling in 2009 and Novak Djokovic in 2015 at the French Open.
That defeat saw Rafael Nadal return to the top of the ATP standings, though the Spaniard relinquished the position temporarily after losing to Dominic Thiem in Madrid.
Nadal is now the first player in the Open Era, male or female, to win 11 titles at three different tournaments, having also completed La Undécima at Monte Carlo and Barcelona in April this year.
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Nadal needed treatment in the fourth game of the third set for a finger injury before sealing victory on a fifth match point when Thiem fired a backhand long.
"I'm very pleased I'm not playing today!" So I just am just going to keep fighting for things and that's it. His form is compared to years past and the passage of time is made tangible on his birthday, which falls during the tournament every year.
A well-disguised drop shot served him well at 30-40 down in game three but in opting for power soon afterwards he netted a forehand, affording Nadal another break chance that was gobbled up.
Midway through the opening set, Nadal's aqua T-shirt was so soaked with sweat it stuck to him, so he changed into a fresh one at a changeover, drawing catcalls from spectators. I am not much anxious about the future. "I am enjoying the moment". "I have ambition and passion for what I am doing".
"No, you can't be frustrated always if somebody have more money than you, if somebody have a bigger house than you, if somebody have more grand slams than you". You can't live with that feeling, no?
Should the 20-time grand slam champion reach the final at the Mercedes Cup, something he has never previously done, he will replace Nadal as world number one.
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