Rafael Nadal Wins The French Open 2018

Heather Diaz
June 11, 2018

Spain's Rafael Nadal defeated Austria's Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 in the final of the French Open on Sunday to win the season's second Grand Slam for a record 11th time.

Thiem lost to Nadal in the second round on his Roland Garros debut in 2014, then again in last year's semi-finals.

Thiem beat Nadal on clay twice, including last month in Madrid that ended Nadal's 21-match winning streak on clay and his streak of 50 straight sets won on his favorite surface.

Sunday at the French Open sees Rafa Nadal and Dominic Thiem take to the courts in the men's singles final, and our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, is back to preview the encounter.

Nadal has won six of his nine matches against Thiem, all of them coming on that famously hard red clay.

Look back over Rafael Nadal's Grand Slam history after his 17th major win at the 2018 French Open at Roland Garros.

Only Rafael Nadal truly knows what he saw reflected when he glanced into the belly of the big silver bowl, but as he pressed his 11th French Open championship trophy against his cheek, his face began to crumple.

The tears that welled up when Nadal received the Coupe des Mousquetaires from Australian great Ken Rosewall showed just how much he still cares.

"The King of Clay" won French Open number nine and record a fifth successive victory by defeating rival Djokovic in four sets.

Nadal called it "not even a dream" to win his 11 titles in Paris.

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

"I would love to be playing in as many places as possible, but you understand I need to check how I feel in the next couple of days", said Nadal as he pondered his preparation for Wimbledon which gets underway in three weeks' time.

But Nadal's form never wavered, and soon enough he was celebrating his 17th Grand Slam title overall, second among men only to Roger Federer's 20.

Injuries pockmarked Nadal's early season and spawned doubt as he prepared to start the clay-court season that has traditionally served as a long taxi-way for Paris.

Thiem says he is "confident" his first appearance in a Grand Slam final will not be his last.

In Madrid, Thiem thrived in the quicker, higher altitude conditions to win their quarter-final in straight sets.

Nadal, Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray - the so-called Big Four - have dominated the men's game to such a degree that Thiem is only the second player now younger than 28 to have reached a major singles final.

Thiem, a 24-year-old Austrian who was playing in his first Grand Slam final, had 18 unforced errors in first set and 42 for the match.

German six-time Grand Slam victor Boris Becker: The legend continues. When he first halted play, Nadal removed that tape, which he said let his circulation improve.

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