Rafael Nadal Wins The French Open 2018

In an interview yesterday, Nadal said, he will have to "play his best" to beat Dominic Thiem in Sunday's French Open final and secure an 11th Roland Garros title. 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 the following changeover, he was given a salt pill by a doctor and had his left forearm massaged by a trainer.

Dejected but gracious in defeat, Thiem told Nadal and the Philippe Chatrier court that his extended record for the most men's Grand Slam wins at any tournament was "one of the most awesome things in sport".

The victory also allowed the 32-year-old Nadal to hold onto the No. 1 ranking, just ahead of Federer.

"I played a great match against a great player", said Nadal.

He is, however, the second player overall to win a major 11 times after Australia's Margaret Court, who won four of her 11 Australian Open titles after the start of the Open Era in 1968.

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Rain had blighted several days of the tournament to this point, but Sunday saw no showers as Nadal breezed to a victory in straight sets by a score of 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.

In their previous nine meetings, all on clay, the man who took the opening set went on to win the match. The Spaniard would save just one breakpoint on his way to the business end of the set, where Thiem - serving 5-4 down - reeled off four enforced errors in a row to hand Nadal the set.

Bizarrely, Nadal then halted playing in the fourth game complaining of pain in his left hand and stretching his middle finger.

Nadal threw his arms skywards and turned to his entourage including coach and fellow Mallorcan Carlos Moya and his uncle Toni who stood down from his coaching role a year ago after his nephew worn his 10th French crown.

He reeled off the first six points for a 2-0 lead before Thiem settled and repaired the damage for 2-2. A forehand wide. A forehand into the net. A forehand long. Just like that, Nadal was off on a five-game run that put him up 3-0 in the second set. One down-the-line forehand victor landed right at the baseline, leaving Thiem sagging his shoulders and muttering. Midway through the opening set, Nadal's aqua T-shirt was so soaked with sweat it stuck to him. Another forehand victor from Nadal followed, and this time Thiem looked up toward his coach and yelled. After guzzling water during that break, Nadal felt better and was back to playing his unmistakable brand of almost unbeatable clay-court tennis.

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