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By the numbers - Rafael Nadal 86-2 at Roland Garros

11 June, 2018, 12:14 | Author: Heidi Alvarez
  • French Open: Rafael Nadal obliterates Dominic Thiem to claim record 11th title

No stranger to rewriting the record books along with his friendly rival, Roger Federer, here is another feat for the Spaniard: He joined Margaret Court in becoming the only tennis players in history to win the same grand slam 11 times.

Rafael Nadal described his performance at the French Open previous year, when he didn't surrender a set, as "perfect".

The Austrian - competing in his first grand slam final after a pair of semifinal showings in Paris - needed to win the first set to have any realistic opportunity of ending Nadal's reign.

Nadal, 32, won 6-4 6-3 6-2 to earn his 17th Grand Slam, three adrift of Roger Federer's all-time men's record.

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).

When he was recovering from injury this year, for the umpteenth time in his career, he was focused on this title and nothing - certainly not Dominic Thiem - was going to stand in his way.

In all fourteen French Open appearances combined, Nadal has lost just 25 sets. In those 10 finals, Nadal has dropped just six sets but at no stage in the final on Sunday did it look like the number could rise further.

"It's fantastic 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. His 11th title French Open deepened a Parisian habit both routine by now and unimaginable by anyone.

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"Honestly, I never expected that one day I would play the finals here so I am still really happy".

Thiem undid all his good work in the next game, netting an easy volley on the first point and gifting Nadal three more unforced errors to hand over the first set. Could Thiem provide us with a classic final?

"I am sure, " Nadal said after the match, "you will 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.

There was still fight in Thiem, though, and he had a break point when Nadal served at 4-2 ― a game in which the Spaniard was warned for taking too long to serve.

"For me [it] was scary, because I felt that I was not able to move the hand, the finger", Nadal said.

Playing Nadal at the French Open is possibly the biggest challenge in the game now, and if Thiem had to win at it he had to be flawless.

Perhaps. But under so much pressure from Nadal all afternoon, Thiem made mistakes that piled up.

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