Sunday, June 10, 2018 8:55 pm
Rafael Nadal was at his awe-inspiring best as he crushed Austrian Dominic Thiem to snatch a record-extending 11th French Open title with a 6-4 6-3 6-2 victory on Sunday.
The Spanish world number one took his Roland Garros win-loss record to 86-2 as he captured his 17th Grand Slam title.
He did so in style by demolishing the seventh seed, who was hoping to become the second Austrian to win at Roland Garros.
In 11 finals in Paris, Nadal has only lost six sets as he matched the all-time record of most singles titles won at the same Grand Slam event set by Margaret Court at the Australian Open during the 1960s and 70s.
Sunday’s result marks the sixth consecutive Grand Slam won by either Nadal or 20-times major champion Roger Federer.
The muscular Spaniard had won all 10 of his previous Roland Garros finals.
Although Thiem was the only man to have beaten him on clay over the past two seasons, the Austrian never threatened the claycourt master on Sunday.
Nadal called on the trainer to get his forearms massaged twice in the final set.
But even that problem failed to improve Thiem’s chances of emulating fellow Austrian Thomas Muster’s 1995 triumph.
Thiem broke back immediately as he continued to go for his shots, and he saw off a break point to hold for 2-2.
Nadal, however, turned the screw in the 10th game and Thiem seemed to grow nervous, sending a forehand long to hand his opponent the opening set.
The signs were already ominous for Thiem at that stage because in 112 best-of-five-set matches, Nadal had never lost after taking the first set.
The top seed went 2-0 ahead in the second set as he wore Thiem down in lung-burning rallies, leaving the Austrian screaming in frustration.
Thiem found some life and threatened with a break point in the seventh game, but Nadal broke his pace with a drop shot and finished it off with a passing shot, holding for 5-2.
He bagged the second set when Thiem sent a backhand long.
Thiem was still on the back foot in the third set, being forced to save four break points in the first game.
He dropped serve in the third and Nadal held for 3-1 after taking a time out because of a sore hand.
He then had his forearm massaged at the changeover before resuming his demolition job.
Nadal had another massage at 5-2 and he ended Thiem’s ordeal on his fifth match point when the Austrian returned long. (Reuters/NAN)