Published: Mon, June 11, 2018
Sports | By Jonathan Ford

Rafael Nadal Wins 11th French Open

But he could not match Nadal's point-by-point consistency and intensity on Sunday. Even a cramp in his left hand early in the third set, which required a rub-down of his left forearm, did not stop him as he closed out for victory. He removed the tape from his left wrist and seemed to take a tablet.

Nadal threw his arms skywards and turned to his entourage including coach and fellow Mallorcan Carlos Moya and his uncle Toni, who stood down from his coaching role past year after his nephew worn his 10th French crown.

Still, Nadal was able to complete the job on court Philippe-Chatrier.

Nadal's form never wavered, though, and soon enough he was celebrating his 17th Grand Slam title overall, second among men only to Roger Federer's 20. Court claimed the last of her 11 at the Australian Open in 1973.

In a world bustling with ball-maulers yearning to topple euphorically onto Roland Garros clay or merely stand and raise the arms skyward in triumph just once in life, Rafael Nadal did so Sunday for a preposterous 11th time, even while choosing the standing option for only the second.

Tennis Super Star Rafael Nadal has again proved his mantle as the King of Clay.

Thiem's best results also have come on clay. Best of five is also a different story.

Why? Nadal was 95-0 when capturing the opener on clay in the best of five format.

That is not entirely the case, however, as although he breezed through the Open's first rounds, in several of those matches he started relatively slowly. He lost the first set, then turned things around after a rain delay. At this point, tennis enthusiasts would likely welcome it - but might just as well appreciate Nadal if he were to overpower his way to another Coupe des Mousquetaires piece of hardware.

Nadal's win-loss record at the French Open, his only two losses coming against Swede Robin Soderling in the fourth round in 2009 and against Djokovic in the quarterfinals in 2015.

"If you told seven or eight years ago that I will be here at 32 years old having this trophy with me again, I will tell you that is something nearly impossible, but here we are".

Unlike past year - when those first few games realistically settled things - Thiem bounced back, breaking straight away.

The 24-year-old finally reached the Roland Garros showpiece after losing in the semi-finals in 2016 and 2017. Another forehand victor from Nadal followed, and this time Thiem looked up toward his coach and yelled. Thiem making unforced errors.

That was swatted away with Nadal's double-handed backhand, though, and the second set duly went the way of the favourite. He dropped serve on a fifth break chance.

His lone opportunity of the set indeed vanished.

Despite the loss, the 24-year-old Austrian said it had been a "great two weeks" for him.

The number of Masters 1000 titles won by Nadal, the most by a single player since the series began in 1990.

Yet he just wouldn't be denied.

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