Rafael Nadal Wins 11th French Open

Roger Federer

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He joined Australia's Margaret Court as the only player to win 11 titles at the same major, while the victory also took his record at Roland Garros to 86 wins and just two losses.

As he showed in Monday's (NZT) final, Nadal remains indestructible, even when cramp turns his racket hand into an agonising claw. But as inevitable as the history-making seems, it never ceases to amaze.

Rafael Nadal won his 11th French Open title on Sunday. If possible, it burns even brighter on the red dirt now.

"You can't fight against the age, and you can't fight against the watch", Nadal said Sunday after defeating Austria's Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-3, 6-2. However, calculations reveal, Roger Federer might topple the Spaniard in about three matches at Stuttgart Open.

And Courier is predicting success for the Austrian further down the line.

But Nadal held with some clever drop shots and after taking the second set it merely became a race against time to finish off Thiem before the rain arrived. "And, of course, it was not nice to lose the first set, but still it was not a key point of today". After all, he had beaten Nadal twice on his favourite surface in the last two years. Nadal is a huge Madrid fan, and is often seen at games.

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The match had begun on a bright note.

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

His career record at Roland Garros might be the most staggering number of all.

And entering Sunday, there was at least some reason to believe that Thiem could make things interesting in the final. Serving to stay in the set at 4-5, the Austrian had Nadal scampering with a massive forehand down the line, but with the entire expanse of the court to play with, he dumped a resultant backhand volley into the net.

"I had a lot of months with injury problems, so coming back to win is very special", he said. Some paying customers at Philippe Chatrier or watching from a distance may have shared that sentiment - a predictable yearning for a close, competitive encounter. He crowds you, stifles you.

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He has come close in Paris before, losing in the semifinals a year ago (to Nadal) and in 2016 (to Novak Djokovic). He now does some part of his on-court interviews in French and has developed a flat forehand inside-out victor to sharpen the attacking edge further.

Once he was a set up, Nadal continued the pummel Thiem with his heavy groundstrokes.

But he could not match Nadal's point-by-point consistency and intensity on Sunday. Like Nadal so often is.

Having been there, done that so often, Nadal, meanwhile, followed the usual script to perfection. "So at the end, it's not the best day".

"It's fantastic now, I can't describe my feelings", Nadal told the crowd on Philippe Chatrier Court moments after capturing his 17th Grand Slam trophy with a 6-4 6-3 6-2 victory.

After a three-minute delay, Nadal marched back to his mark and completed the second half of a double-fault.

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Thiem was under the cosh, saving four break points in the first game of the third set before Nadal inevitably broke for 2-1. Eighty-two unforced errors for the Canadian didn't help his cause.

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