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French Open 2018: Nadal defeats Thiem to win 11th title

12 June 2018

Rafael Nadal looks borderline unbeatable at the moment. And I did it in the past when I was much younger, quicker, because I played back to back.

Nadal said he expects to see Thiem back in a final one day - and with a different result. "But in the end, it was not too hard".

"I added one more grand slam, 17 is an wonderful number".

Rafa Nadal of Spain lost just one set on his way to winning his 11th French Open crown.

Nadal struck 26 winners to Thiem's 34 yet made only 24 unforced errors to Thiem's 42, with "unforced errors" a relative term in Nadal Roland Garros matches.

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The number of Grand Slam singles titles now held by Nadal, who is second on the all-time list among men in the Open Era, behind Federer (20), and ahead of Pete Sampras (14), Djokovic and Roy Emerson (12 each).

Federer can regain top spot in the rankings by reaching the final in Stuttgart and, while congratulating Nadal on his astonishing achievement, the 36-year-old is aiming high on his start to the grass-court swing.

Sky Sports tennis expert Mark Petchey has named five aspects of world No. 1 Rafael Nadal's game that make him the best in the business. It was Nadal's 60th win in a row on clay. I had a long and mentally tough clay court season because I played nearly all possible matches after coming from an injury. Whether it was at the Masters tournaments in Monte Carlo, Madrid, or Rome-whether it was his home tournament in Barcelona-Nadal nearly never lost on the Spaniard.

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An edgy Thiem won only one of the first eight points as Nadal, cheered to the rafters when he walked on court, bristled with intent.

It worked. For a bit. Thiem tied the score at 2-2, before going down 5-4. A volley into the net. Of those 20, the Spaniard only won one by hitting a victor. Thiem was hammering every ball that he could, and Nadal was responding with his classic clay court defense.

In fact the only thing to trouble Nadal unduly was a tightening up of his arm midway through the third set.

The world No. 1 went up 40-0 during Thiem's first service of the third set. "But I can't always be thinking of more", he said. "I was not [in] control of my finger".

His picking at the rear of his shorts and mopping of his brow, aligned with his obsessive devotion to lining up his water bottles, are parts of the Nadal DNA.

Certainly, Nadal played a role.

There was late anxiety for Nadal as the predicted thunderstorms loomed and he needed his left forearm massaged after beginning to suffer from cramp. In the other semi-final, Marco Cecchinato's unusual run in the last two weeks was ended by Dominic Thiem, also in straight sets, although the first two sets were somewhat closer than anything Del Potro could muster.

Shortly after, he'd be holding the silver trophy, the one he knows so well, and crying.

French Open 2018: Nadal defeats Thiem to win 11th title