Rafael Nadal wins French Open title

Jose Verdugo
Junio 14, 2018

Nadal stepped into the professional world of tennis at the age of 15.

"Tough moment", Nadal would say later. "When someone wins 11 times here, for me it's unbelievable", he told reporters. In 112 best-of-five-set matches, Nadal has never lost after claiming the first set. "But in the end, it was not too hard".

Taking on Nadal at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament is a whole other challenge.

Thiem, competing in his first major final, was second best in the next set as he was edged out in a gruelling second game for the only break of serve.

After falling short in three major finals, Halep finally got her victory on her beloved Parisian clay with a three-set win over 10-seeded Sloane Stephens.

Suffered his first French Open loss in 2009 to Sweden's Robin Soderling in the fourth round. He added five straight from 2010-14 and now has two in a row.

Nadal also closed the gap on Federer, who won on 20 occasions, on the all-time list for most Grand Slam men's singles titles.

- Won the ATP newcomer of the year in 2003.

Thiem's best results also have come on clay.

The Coupe des Mousquetaires was retained and Nadal could return to the French throne for an 11th term.

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"I would love to have 20 like Roger in the future or even more, but being honest, it's something that is not in my mind". He took the biggest of big cuts on groundstrokes, his feet leaving the ground as he threw his whole body into them, as if the very outcome - not of any individual point, but the whole shebang - depended on the strength of that one whip of his white racket. The French Open statisticians are nicer than they should be, as all but one of Thiem's 19 errors in that stretch were unforced (officially, 12 were unforced and seven were forced). A volley into the net.

By then, Nadal was finding his spots.

Perhaps. But under so much pressure from Nadal all afternoon, Thiem made mistakes that piled up.

That was swatted away with Nadal's double-handed backhand, though, and the second set duly went the way of the favourite.

"I want to think that is possible", Toni said. I couldn't move the finger.

In some ways, Nadal's opponent on Sunday - 24-year-old Dominic Thiem from Austria - fit the bill as the giant-killer. Thiem withstood a barrage of break points to hold in a marathon sixth game, which he thought he had won at 40-30 when he left a wide ball, only for the umpire to overrule the line judge. Holding the trophy during the awards ceremony, he wept.

Less than an hour after the match was completed, demolition workers began to smash up Court Philippe Chatrier, part of the continuing redevelopment that will lead to a roof being in place over the stadium court in two years' time.

Nadal added another US Open crown at Arthur Ashe Stadium in NY in 2013 and a third past year.

The crowd responded at the mention of 2005, initially offering polite applause. Now, a decade later, the Spaniard is still the undisputed King of Clay. The crescendo rose to a full-throated roar for 2017.

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