Published: Mon, June 11, 2018
Sports | By Juana Wells

Awe-inspiring Nadal claims record-extending 11th French Open title


A remarkable year ended when the world No 1 completed a career Grand Slam by beating Novak Djokovic at Flushing Meadows.

Number one seed Nadal continued his dominance at a tournament he has made his own since 2005, claiming victory over 24-year-old Austrian challenger Dominic Thiem in straight sets 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.

But from the moment Nadal broke serve in the 10th game to win the opening set Thiem's belief ebbed away. He removed the tape from his left wrist and seemed to take a tablet.

Nadal's Barcelona Open semifinal win over David Goffin was his 400th tour-level clay-court match win, making him the fourth man in the Open Era to win 400 matches on clay, after Vilas (659), Manuel Orantes (502) and Muster (422).

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 past year after his nephew worn his 10th French crown.

But that's the best-of-three sets and in different, faster conditions.

Nadal now stands at 86-2 at French Open and continues to remain unbeaten in finals in Paris.

The Austrian - competing in his first grand slam final after a pair of semifinal showings in Paris - needed to win the first set to have any realistic opportunity of ending Nadal's reign.

Slow starts have plagued Nadal in several of his matches this fortnight, most notably against 11th-Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals.

Nadal, however, averted danger with a pass after dragging Thiem in with a deft drop-shot.

Others highlighted Nadal's remarkable record at Roland Garros since first winning the title there in 2005. Well done, I'm sure you will win here in the next few years'.

Another feature was his ridiculously slow play when serving, nearly always over the 25-second limit and sometimes going well into the thirties. 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. He dropped serve on a fifth break chance.

"If he does that then he will have a shot because he'll be use to playing in that manner".

His lone opportunity of the set indeed vanished. And he took the biggest of big cuts on his groundstrokes, his feet leaving the ground as he threw his whole body into them, as if the very outcome of the match - not any individual point, but the whole shebang - depended on the strength of that one whip of his white racket.

Seemingly cruising to victory, that's when Nadal called for the trainer.

The number of Masters 1000 titles won by Nadal, the most by a single player since the series began in 1990.

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