Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Rafael Nadal beats Dominic Thiem for 11th French Open title

One of the rallies of the tournament Tennis > French OpenVIDEO-'One of the rallies of the tournament- Amazing point between Sloane Stephens and Simona Halep
Cary Erickson | 11 June, 2018, 01:15

Claimed a record-extending 11th French Open title and his 17th major with victory over Dominic Thiem.

However, it was not all smooth for Nadal, who missed four match points on his own serve before clinching victory when Thiem went long on the fifth.

It was hard not to feel sympathy for Thiem, playing in his first grand slam final against a man who simply does not lose this particular battle.

The result also marks the sixth consecutive Grand Slam won by either Nadal or 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. This time, there were no trademark celebrations of going down on the clay post the win while that of biting the trophy continued to remain alive. "I am sure you'll win here in the next couple of years".

Thiem, mixing heavy top-spin and flat groundstrokes and angling balls across the sidelines, saved a break point at 1-2 and two more at 2-3 and there were signs that Nadal was struggling with his timing as he framed several forehands. Overall, the 32-year-old has won 17 Grand Slam championships - the four most important tennis events held annually in France, United States, Britain and Australia. He took the biggest of big cuts on groundstrokes, his feet leaving the ground as he threw his whole body into them, as if the very outcome - not of any individual point, but the whole shebang - depended on the strength of that one whip of his white racket.

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It came at a crucial time as India were clawing their way back through tidy bowling from their spinners. India scored 112/9 in 20 overs, a score which was unlikely when the batting order stumbled.

But once a competive first set went the way of the world number one, the plan became damage limitation and Nadal's "undecima" never looked in any doubt.

It worked. For a bit.

Over the best-of-five sets on clay, Nadal improved to 111-2 - it is a figure nearly as imposing as the nearby Eiffel Tower - his lone reverses coming against Robin Soderling in 2009 and Novak Djokovic in 2015 at the French Open. Midway through the opening set, Nadal's aqua T-shirt was so soaked with sweat it stuck to him, so he changed into a fresh one at a changeover, drawing catcalls from spectators. A forehand wide. A forehand into the net.

- Nadal's uncle Miguel Angel Nadal was a former soccer player who represented Barcelona, RCD Mallorca and the Spain national team.

Nadal celebrated in relatively low key fashion, but then there is not much novelty value in this. After guzzling water during his visit from the doctor, Nadal was back to playing his unmistakable brand of almost unbeatable clay-court tennis. Nadal theorized that the tight wrap on his forearm had cut off his circulation, and said the unexpected sensation scared him.