Published: Sun, June 17, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Nadal, Federer fight 'the watch,' keep winning Slams

Nadal, Federer fight 'the watch,' keep winning Slams

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. Of those 86 victories, 78 have come when Nadal has won the first set, after which he has never lost a match on Parisian clay. In the fourth game Friday, del Potro clutched at his left hip after being wrong-footed by one shot from Nadal and was visited by a doctor at the next changeover. The victory allowed him to hold the number one ranking.

The 24-year-old's biggest issue was his serve, and especially his second serve.

Thiem is the only player to have beaten Nadal on clay in the last two years after wins in Madrid this year and Rome in 2017.

Cecchinato had never won a Grand Slam match until this tournament.

That scenario loomed again with Nadal going to 2-0 in the second set on a fifth break point as Thiem fired another backhand wide.

Thiem didn't think that loose game to end the first set was as crucial as it might seemed to everyone else. "What is in my mind now is that I won a very important title for me", he added.

"Yes, it's true that in my career I achieved much more than what I ever dreamed". Maybe, just maybe, fans could get an entertaining French Open final-something that has been sorely lacking in this era of Nadal's absolute dominance. He also won the U.S. Open that year.

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When Rafael Nadal broke down in tears on the Roland Garros podium yesterday as 15,000 people, plus a smattering of Hollywood heavyweights, stood and honoured his staggering 11th French Open triumph, it was enough to make his desperate rivals weep.

Thiem saved a first breakpoint in that game but couldn't save the second, hitting a forehand wide. I had a long and mentally tough clay court season because I played nearly all possible matches after coming from an injury.

However, it was not all smooth sailing for Nadal on Sunday, as he started suffering cramps on his left hand in the third set.

By Thursday normal service had resumed, the Spaniard reeling off the two points he needed to level the match, and then polishing off two more sets to crush this particular French revolution and secure his place in the semi-finals.

After surrendering the first set to Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals, Nadal rattled off six straight sets, including a dominating effort against Juan Martin del Potro in the semifinals.

"No, you can't be frustrated always if somebody have more money than you, if somebody have a bigger house than you, if somebody have more grand slams than you".

After the victory - which saw Nadal claim his 17th Grand Slam title in total, just three behind Roger Federer's all-time record of 20 - social media was quick to laud the 32-year-old's staggering achievement. "I'm just trying to keep enjoying, and I'm gonna keep playing until my body resists, and my happiness is still high playing tennis", he said. In fact, after just a few minutes of play, the ten-time champion had won eight of the first nine points.

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