Rafael Nadal beats Dominic Thiem for his 11th French Open title

Jun 10 2018 Paris France Rafael Nadal poses with the trophy after his men's singles final against Dominic Thiem on day 15

Rafael Nadal described his performance at the French Open a year ago, when he didn't surrender a set, as "perfect".

The world No. 1 wasn't as invincible this year - there may have been an injury issue - but he was still plenty good enough at the grand slam where he is virtually unbeatable.

Thiem, mixing heavy top-spin and flat groundstrokes and angling balls across the sidelines, saved a break point at 1-2 and two more at 2-3 and there were signs that Nadal was struggling with his timing as he framed several forehands. He removed the tape from his left wrist and seemed to take a tablet.

"For me [it] was scary, because I felt that I was not able to move the hand, the finger", Nadal said.
Throughout his 14 years competing here, Nadal has only lost two matches.

At the Australian Open last January, a depleted Halep fell to Caroline Wozniacki in a gruelling three-set final. Of course is a drastic change from clay to grass.

In some ways, Nadal's opponent on Sunday - 24-year-old Dominic Thiem from Austria - fit the bill as the giant-killer. In 112 best-of-five-set matches, Nadal has never lost after claiming the first set. Thiem, who is the only man to beat Nadal on clay over the past two seasons, appeared for his first Grand Slam final.

But those are not quite the same as the French Open, where Nadal is 86-2 for his career. It was his best performance of the fortnight, as Nadal confirmed on court, just when he needed it most.

Nadal now has a 100-point lead over Federer in the rankings with 8,770 points following his French Open win.

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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 previous year after his nephew worn his 10th French crown. Part of that probably can be traced to Serena Williams' 16-month absence from the sport's four most prestigious tournaments because she became a mother.

Rafael Nadal looks borderline unbeatable at the moment.

Unfortunately for him, Thiem began the second set the same way he ended the first. He dropped serve on a fifth break chance.

His lone opportunity of the set indeed vanished.

After winning just one point in the first two games, Thiem dragged himself back into the contest, only to throw away the opening set with an erratic 10th game as he was broken to love.

Federer, 36, can regain the top spot in the rankings by reaching the final in Stuttgart and, while congratulating Nadal on his astonishing achievement, he is aiming high on his start to the grass-court swing. He removed the tape from his left wrist - the Mallorcan suffered a wrist injury that ruled him out in the first week of the 2016 edition - and the trainer came out again at 3-2. That led to 34 winners (eight more than Nadal) but also 42 unforced errors (18 more than Nadal).

Yet he just wouldn't be denied.

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