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

Novak Djokovic

World number one Rafael Nadal won an 11th French Open title by beating Austria's Dominic Thiem in straight sets.

Nadal's celebration was restrained ― throwing his arms skywards and turning to his entourage including coach and fellow Mallorcan Carlos Moya and his uncle Toni who stood down previous year when his nephew Nadal reached La Decima.

Nadal ended a three-year Grand Slam drought with a brilliant performance against Stan Wawrinka in the 2017 French Open final. He also beat the Spaniard in Buenos Aires in 2016.

Of those 86 victories, 78 have come when Nadal has won the first set, after which he has never lost a match on Parisian clay.

Rafael Nadal, who has been rewriting history books since his first triumph at the 2005 French Open, won his eleventh title at Roland Garros on Sunday to add another record to his name.

Seventh seed Thiem arrived on a sultry Court Philippe Chatrier with three career wins over Nadal, all on clay, and in an absorbing first set lasting an hour showed why ― going toe-to-toe in some ferocious rallies. It was his best performance of the fortnight, as Nadal confirmed on court, just when he needed it most.

"That's my biggest goal, to get into the next one and then to do it better than today", he said.

Roland-Garros hosted a final that told two stories, with Nadal easing to victory after surrendering only one set all tournament long, while Thiem looked noticeably short on stamina, particularly in the later stages of Sunday's decider.

Nadal, 32, has won six major titles on grass and hardcourts, but clay is his natural element, like water for Michael Phelps or snow for Marcel Hirscher.

Well, Nadal has answered that question now without too much trouble.

Two breaks later Nadal was in a familiar position, serving for the title, and when another Thiem forehand dropped long, his arms were raised in celebration, yet again.

Nadal had a brief moment of weakness in the first set, when the 24-year-old Austrian broke him in the third game.

"It's fantastic now, I can't describe my feelings", a sweat-soaked Nadal told the crowd.

Nadal's 11th title takes his grand slam tally to 17 and even at 32, despite the miles in his legs, who is going to stop him making it 12 in a year's time?

However, in Open Era, he is the first player ever (man or woman) to complete La Undécima in a single Grand Slam event. This season no other player, not even the undisputed King of Clay, can count as many match wins on the red dirt as Thiem.

Thiem put up a good fight in his opening service game of the third set, saving four breakpoints. After Roland Garros, Nadal's win-loss record on clay stands at 415-36.

That it was not was testimony to Nadal's level, which never wavered, despite everything Thiem threw at him.

Certainly, Nadal played a role.

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