Published: Mon, June 11, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

Rafael Nadal lifts record 11th French Open title


In winning another French Open title, Nadal dropped one set the entire tournament.

Nadal struck 26 winners to Thiem's 34 yet made only 24 unforced errors to Thiem's 42, with "unforced errors" a relative term in Nadal Roland Garros matches.

The number of Grand Slam finals now contested by Nadal, extending his position at second on the men's Open Era leaderboard, behind Federer (30) and ahead of Djokovic (21) and Lendl (19).

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. But after, the Spaniard was imperious.

He led by two sets plus a break early in the third when the middle finger on his racket-wielding left hand was cramping so badly he couldn't straighten it. At the following changeover, he was given a salt pill by a doctor and had his left forearm massaged by a trainer.

Not much more of a daunting task than doing so against Nadal at the French Open, where he is now 11-0 in finals and 86-2 overall.

But it ultimately proved a futile mission as, just like in all but two of Nadal's previous 87 matches here, the incredible Spaniard proved invincible, winning 6-4 6-3 6-2.

Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News.

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Nadal's welling eyes during the trophy ceremony provided a moment of vulnerability after a match that had very few of them, apart from a freakish interlude in the third set when Nadal abruptly stopped mid-service game with a disconcerted expression and left the baseline to request medical attention for a cramping left hand.

Nadal, however, turned the screw in the 10th game and Thiem seemed to grow nervous, sending a forehand long to hand his opponent the opening set. "I am sure you'll win here in the next couple of years".

Uncle Toni, no longer his nephew's coach but back in his customary seat on the end of the players' box, two seats down from the current coach, Carlos Moya, summed it up perfectly. "I played a great match against a great player", said Nadal.

"It is nearly impossible to beat Rafa", said Del Potro who had his chances in the semi-final but failed to convert any of his seven break points before his challenge petered out into tired hopelessness. Thiem got hold off that point quite easily serving the ball away and right to Nadal.

In a 10-minute second game of the second set, Thiem suffered more trauma.

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

'Of course I would love to have 20 like Roger in the future or even more, but being honest, is something that is not in my mind. Thiem broke the Spaniard's serve in the third game of the match, nullifying Nadal's early break but earned only one more break point - which was saved by Nadal. 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.

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