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11 June 2018, 07:48 | Kristopher Drake
Rafael Nadal beats Dominic Thiem for his 11th French Open title
Rafael Nadal bagged a record-extending 11th French Open title on Sunday with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 thrashing of Dominic Thiem even as he faced injury scare late in the final. The Spaniard officially withdrew before the start of his third-round match in 2016.
The clay courts of Roland Garros host the second Grand Slam of the season.
After an intense claycourt season in which he also collected an 11th Monte Carlo and Barcelona crown and suffered only one defeat in 27 matches, Nadal will take time out for fishing in his native Mallorca before the grasscourt swing.
"That's my biggest goal, to get into the next one and then to do it better than today", he said.
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.
In full control of the French Open final, a rather familiar position for him, Rafael Nadal suddenly was anxious.
With Novak Djokovic far from his best and Andy Murray still a question mark after hip surgery, per Kevin Mitchell of the Guardian, the route for the likes of Federer and Nadal is about as clear as they could hope.
The King of Clay.
This year, in Madrid where the courts are faster and the flies through the air because of the altitude, Thiem launched a heavy-handed attack against Nadal and emerged a 7-5, 6-3 victor.
Muguruza thrashes Sharapova to reach semi-finals in Paris Halep nonetheless rallied and won a thrilling ninth game, one that saw her save three break points with some fearless hitting. Muguruza's last stand came at 4-all in the second set, a 13-minute game in which she held three break points.
Austria's Dominic Thiem strained every sinew trying to cling on to the 32-year-old Spaniard and at times even gained a precarious foothold in his first Grand Slam final.
Sunday's win was Nadal's 17th major trophy, only putting him three behind Roger Federer.
Others - including United States former tennis great Billie Jean King and ex-male professional James Blake - praised Nadal's victory, which was dominant despite an injury scare with hand cramp in the latter stages of the third set. "Of course, I have ambition, I have passion for what I am doing, but I never have been insane about all this kind of stuff", Nadal told a news conference.
Some wishful anticipation had been made of the fact that, 30 days prior, Thiem had beaten Nadal on the clay of Madrid, but Thiem reminded everyone Friday that the clay of Madrid is not the clay of Paris.
The Spaniard now inches closer to Roger Federer's all-time record of 20 Grand Slam titles.
In Madrid, Thiem thrived in the quicker, higher altitude conditions to win their quarter-final in straight sets.
Nadal plans to return to Paris in 2019 and try and clinch a 12th title at Roland Garros.
Thiem stayed with Nadal in the early going on a cloudy and steamy afternoon; the temperature was 24 degrees Celsius, the humidity approached 70 per cent.
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