Rafael Nadal won his 11th French Open with victory over Dominic Thiem. Nadal suffered a finger injury late on, but battled through the pain to clock up his 17th grand slam title, just three behind Roger Federer.Rafael Nadal is the king of the clay for an 11th time after a dominant victory over Dominic Thiem, the young challenger from Austria.
The Spaniard won 6-4, 6-3, 6-2, despite an injury scare in the closing stages of Sunday’s final in Paris.
Nadal needed treatment in the fourth game of the third set for a finger injury before sealing victory on a fifth match point when Thiem fired a backhand long.
The 32-year-old world number one now has 17 Grand Slam titles, just three behind his great rival Roger Federer, who skipped the clay for the second year running but will return for the upcoming grass court season.
“It’s really just incredible. I played a great match against a great player,” said Nadal. “I had tough moment in the third set with cramps in my hand. I was very scared but that’s sport, it was very humid.
“To win 11 times here, it’s fantastic and not something I ever dreamed of. It is always my dream to win this trophy, you all know how important the tournament is to me. So I hope to see you all again next year.”
Nadal joins Australia’s Margaret Court as the only player to win 11 titles at the same major. Victory also took Nadal’s record at Roland Garros to 86 wins and just two losses.
For 24-year-old Thiem, playing in his first Grand Slam final, it was a deflating defeat for the only man to have beaten the Spaniard on clay in the last two years.
“Rafa, this is one of the most outstanding things an athlete has achieved in any sport,” the seventh seed told Nadal during the award ceremony. “I saw you win this in 2005 when I was just 11 years old, but I never dreamed of getting the chance to play the final here.”
mds/dv (AFP, Reuters)