Published: Mon, June 11, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

King of Clay reigns supreme: Rafael Nadal wins 11th French Open

King of Clay reigns supreme: Rafael Nadal wins 11th French Open

There is not much more daunting of a task than doing so against Nadal at the French Open, where he is now 11-0 in finals and 86-2 overall.

The city of Paris is set to witness history as Tennis ace Rafael Nadal is aiming to win his 11th Rolland Garros title when he faces off with fourth-seeded Dominic Thiem of Austria, who is looking forward to claim his first.

Nadal has never lost a best-of-five-set match on clay when he has won the first set, and every time Thiem has faced the world number one the victor of the first set has gone on to take the match.

Closing his eyes for a brief moment to take in the sounds all around him, Nadal rejoined to reality as he always does, turning to the crowd and applauding with them.

Nadal has won each of the finals he has contested at Roland Garros, and has won 11 of the last 14 French Open titles.

Thiem didn't think that loose game to end the first set was as crucial as it might seemed to everyone else.

Up a break at 2-1 in the third set, Nadal stopped serving after a fault because he couldn't straighten his left middle finger.

The Austrian won just one point in falling 2-0 behind but got back on serve immediately courtesy of two pinpoint forehands, and three rescued break points over games four and six were further evidence of his growing confidence.

Thiem was hampered by his many unforced errors after long rallies.

Rafael Nadal suffered a cramp which required immediate medical timeout
Rafael Nadal suffered a cramp which required immediate medical timeout

Nadal will serve for the French Open title after breaking Thiem for a second time to take a 5-2 lead in the third set. He continued his momentum following the medical timeout, and managed to convert his fifth match point on Thiem's poor backhand in the eighth game.

Thiem, who is the only man to beat Nadal on clay over the past two seasons, appeared for his first Grand Slam final. "Bravo. To me it's been still great two weeks".

The number of Masters 1000 titles won by Nadal, the most by a single player since the series began in 1990.

Thiem scrapped hard to save four break points but Nadal is relentless, keeping up the pressure until the seventh seed sends a backhand long.

A year later he exacted his revenge over the Swede, but this time in the final for his fifth Roland Garros title.

The victory also allowed the 32-year-old Nadal to hold onto the No. 1 ranking, just ahead of Federer.

Nadal has never lost at Roland Garros following an opening set victory.

Thiem used to hike through the Alps in his homeland as part of his training, but the 24-year-old had an even bigger mountain to climb now.

The women's doubles final is also Sunday.

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