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Nadal wins record-extending 11th French Open

10 June, 2018, 20:12 | Author: Heidi Alvarez

Sunday at the French Open sees Rafa Nadal and Dominic Thiem take to the courts in the men's singles final, and our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, is back to preview the encounter.

Slow starts have plagued Nadal in several of his matches this fortnight, most notably against 11th-Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals.

Nadal said of his wrist cramp: "I was very scared".

"I know I have to play my best if I want to have chances".

"I have a very hard match against a player that is playing great", the 32-year old Spaniard said.

There was grunting and there was timewasting that was, again, overlooked by overgenerous umpiring, but ultimately there can be no arguing that he remains peerless when it comes to the brown dirt.

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.

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What price Federer continues it at Wimbledon five weeks today? In Madrid, Thiem said the key was to be positive against Nadal. But that was only after Nadal had allowed him just two games in a last-eight mauling in Monte Carlo.

On a humid afternoon before a crowd peppered with celebrities from Zinedine Zidane to Hugh Grant he hardly showed signs of weakness, breaking immediately as his opponent got to grips with being in what was his first Grand Slam final.

The duo have met nine times throughout their career, all on clay, with Nadal taking six meetings to Thiem's three. He suffered one service break, in the third game of the match, which came as big news. "It's the same old refrain with Rafael Nadal but there's two things I keep on hearing in analysis about beating him".

He broke the Austrian in the third game of the set. Serves the ball but Thiem nets it, easy picking this for the Spaniard.

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.

Thiem saved a first breakpoint in that game but couldn't save the second, hitting a forehand wide.

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