Rafael Nadal beats Dominic Thiem for 11th French Open title

Roger Federer serves during his victory over Mischa Zverev at the Stuttgart Open

Spanish tennis genius Rafael Nadal clinched an 11th French Open against Dominic Thiem on Sunday to take his majors total to 17.

In claiming a 17th Grand Slam title, Nadal matched Margaret Court's record of 11 titles at a single major - hers all coming at the Australian Open.

Thiem stayed with him for the better part of a set, before Nadal pulled away for a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 victory and his 11th championship at Roland Garros.

Became the first man with eight titles at the same Grand Slam when he beat fellow Spaniard David Ferrer in the 2013 final at Roland Garros.

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.

Nadal remained implacable in the homestretch, intent on ignoring his temporarily impaired hand, outracing the rainclouds that hovered close and low but didn't erupt, and trying to outrun, outhit and outwit a player who was 11 years old when he won his first title here in 2005. But after, the Spaniard was imperious.

He also let four match points go at 5-2 but he would not be denied as Thiem went long with a backhand on the fifth.

There was late anxiety for Nadal as the predicted thunderstorms loomed and he needed his left forearm massaged after beginning to suffer from cramp.

Ahead of the game, according to ATP, Nadal said that he will have to give his best against a player (Thiem) who is equally great.

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"I feel very lucky to all of the things that have happened to me". In 2009, he was upset by big-hitting Robin Soderling in the fourth round.

Still, Nadal was able to complete the job on court Philippe-Chatrier. Nadal also did not win the title in 2016, as he withdrew with an injury before his third-round match.

Victory on Sunday moved Nadal to just three Slams behind his great rival Roger Federer who, at 36, is more than four years older.

"It's really just incredible". Nadal was 95-0 when capturing the opener on clay in the best of five format. But as Nadal's uncle, Toni Nadal, said shortly afterwards, "this is not normal".

As if the task was not daunting enough for Thiem, the early signs were even more ominous.

Over the best-of-five sets on clay in 13 years, Nadal improved to 111-2 - 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.

Seemingly cruising to victory, that's when Nadal called for the trainer, the second time he did it at the French Open mid-game.

Once he was a set up, Nadal continued the pummel Thiem with his heavy groundstrokes. After guzzling water during his visit from the doctor, Nadal was back to playing his unmistakable brand of almost unbeatable clay-court tennis.

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