Published: Sun, June 10, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

French Open champion Rafael Nadal

French Open champion Rafael Nadal

Paris - Rafael Nadal claimed an 11th French Open title on Sunday with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 demolition of Dominic Thiem despite a worrying injury scare in the closing stages of the final.

Nadal is now the first player in the Open Era, male or female, to win the same Grand Slam tournament 11 times, a feat that has been dubbed La Undécima, after Real Madrid's bid to win an 11th European Cup.

Chief among those praising Nadal was defender Ramos.

But from the moment Nadal broke serve in the 10th game to win the opening set Thiem's belief ebbed away.

German footballer Mario Gotze - who is not in Russian Federation with the national team but who scored the winning goal for his team in the final in Brazil four years ago - also paid tribute to Nadal.

By contrast, Thiem was competing in his maiden major final and although he matched his illustrious opponent for large parts of the opening set, he crumbled at the crunch and never really regained his poise.

In an interview yesterday, Nadal said, he will have to "play his best" to beat Dominic Thiem in Sunday's French Open final and secure an 11th Roland Garros title.

The younger challengers struggle to land a punch, and the last six men's Grand Slam titles have now gone in the sequence of Federer-Nadal-Federer-Nadal-Federer-Nadal.

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In the third set, Nadal suffered a blip as he called for the trainer for a cramp in his left hand.

Understandably, Thiem looked edgy at the start and he managed to win only one of the first eight points as Nadal, cheered loudly when he walked on court, bristled with intent. "I am sure you'll win here in the next couple of years". "Best of five is also different story".

Wimbledon remains a target for the 32-year-old, however his camp will have seen the number of physical problems he's been forced to overcome over the course of the French Open.

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.

That scenario loomed again with Nadal going to 2-0 in the second set on a fifth break point as Thiem fired another backhand wide.

But against Thiem, there was nothing wrong with Nadal's start. The Argentine ended Nadal's run of 37 consecutive sets in a rain-delayed quarter-final before the Spaniard won the contest upon the resumption on Thursday under glorious blue skies.

At 4-4 Nadal hit a second serve that bounced before it reached the net but he shrugged that off to hold.

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