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Nadal - The King of Clay- Wins 11th French Open Title

14 June 2018

Nadal extended his remarkable tally to 11 French Open crowns when he defeated Dominic Thiem in straight sets during Sunday's final in what marked the Spaniard's 17th Grand Slam victory - three behind Federer. So, that's it. If you tell me seven, eight years ago that I will be here at 32 years old having this trophy with me again, I will tell you that is something nearly impossible, but here we are.

While we have an edge here, I appreciate that backing a heavy odds-on shot isn't most people's cup of tea, so the game handicap should be a viable proposition.

Halep, Caroline Wozniacki and Garbine Muguruza remained the WTA's top three, but French Open runner-up Sloane Stephens went from No 10 to a career-high No 4. Thiem stayed with Nadal in the early going on a steamy afternoon. No, you can't be frustrated always if somebody has more money than you, if somebody have a bigger house than you, if somebody have more Grand Slams than you.

In some ways, Nadal's opponent on Sunday - 24-year-old Dominic Thiem from Austria - fit the bill as the giant-killer.

Nadal, in an on-court interview, also said he's sure that runner-up Thiem will win the tournament in "the next couple of years".

Thiem was hampered by his many unforced errors after long rallies. What I was really shocked at was that he told us it was cramp in the interview afterwards and then he had treatment for it. "I was very scared but that's sport".

Up a break at 2-1 in the third set, Nadal stopped serving after a fault because he couldn't straighten his left middle finger.

He is the only man to beat Nadal on clay over the past two seasons, doing so twice.

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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.

He displayed his lethal weapon of single-handed backhand, while being troubled by unfavorable performance on his first serves, conceding the first set 6-4.

And he increased the tempo further, consigning Thiem to defeat in his first major final when the Austrian sent a return long. He now has 11 French Open titles, the most ever for a men's or women's player.

Slow starts have plagued Nadal in several of his matches this fortnight, most notably against 11th-Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals. "I played a great match against a great player", said Nadal.

Following his victory on Sunday, Nadal told reporters that he isn't "crazy" about catching Federer on the all-time Grand Slam title list. "Very emotional for me".

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.

Play has since resumed and Nadal now leads 4-2 in the third set.

Thiem saved a first breakpoint in that game but couldn't save the second, hitting a forehand wide.

Nadal - The King of Clay- Wins 11th French Open Title