Published: Sun, June 10, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Rafael Nadal clinches 11th French Open title in ‘Claywalk’


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.

Imperious Nadal won a record-extending 11th French Open title with a 6-4 6-3 6-2 victory over young pretender Dominic Thiem.

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.

Thiem, a 24-year-old Austrian who was playing in his first Grand Slam final, had 18 unforced errors in first set and 42 for the match.

Federer (9 at Halle, 8 at Basel) and Argentine clay-court legend Guillermo Vilas (8, Buenos Aires) are the male players with the next highest number of titles at a tournament below Grand Slam level.

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Won the French Open on debut in 2005 and a year later beat Roger Federer in the final.

Rafael Nadal often said that he is the top player to have missed most Grand Slams or important events in the last decade or so, always due to injuries and not a lack of motivation or something like this.

Nadal appeared to be suffering with cramp in his left arm early in the third but even that discomfort could not derail him as the "King of Clay" extended his scarcely believable French Open win-loss record to 86-2, further underlining his status as the greatest of all time on the red dirt.

A year later he exacted his revenge over the Swede, but this time in the final for his fifth Roland Garros title.

In their previous nine meetings, all on clay, the man who took the opening set went on to win the match.

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Others highlighted Nadal's remarkable record at Roland Garros since first winning the title there in 2005. Federer's record in Wimbledon finals is 8-3.

"It's wonderful now, I can't describe my feelings", Nadal told the crowd on Philippe Chatrier Court moments after capturing his 17th Grand Slam trophy with a 6-4 6-3 6-2 victory.

In 2007, he became the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to win a hat-trick of Roland Garros titles. Nadal's streak began at Roland Garros a year ago and was ended by Thiem, who beat the Spaniard in straight sets in the quarterfinals of the Madrid Open. Became the first man to win five successive French Open titles in 2014.

And Thiem claims he was not surprised to see the Spaniard crying after he claimed a record-breaking 11th title.

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