Rafael Nadal extended his ridiculous record of French Open titles to 11 with a routine win over Dominic Thiem. He took just over two hours to beat the Austrian, 6-4 6-3 6-2. He retained his spot at No.1 in the ATP World Tour rankings while nudging back to three slams away from Roger Federer’s record of 20.
Both men came into the final on the back of straight sets victories in their semi final matchups, ensuring tiredness would not be a factor in the match. Thiem matched Nadal for much of the first set as they felt each other out in the early goings. However, the Austrian unravelled when it came to the end of the set. Serving to stay in it at *4-5, he found himself down 0-40 with three errors. A wild forehand went long on the first break point and that would be it for Thiem, who was facing an opponent who had never lost in 95 matches in best of 5 on clay when winning the first set.
Early breaks in both the second and third set removed much of the drama from the match with Nadal’s intensity remaining unmatched despite a fair effort from a talented opponent. Up a break in the third set, a tiny bit of panic spread when Nadal sought treatment for his hand – possibly for cramp. It didn’t impact him as much as expected and he managed a second break to allow him to serve for the match with plenty of insurance. It was on his fifth championship point that Thiem hit a backhand long to finally end the match and give Nadal his 11th title.
Thiem is sure to find his way back into a French Open final at some point and eventually he will not be seeing the greatest clay courter of all time on the other side. “It’s really a great thing that I made my way and that I was competing in a final against him… But still I’m disappointed, of course. It was a final. I really wanted to win. I gave everything I had, and I’m the loser of today. So at the end, it’s not the best day,” Thiem said. “I’m confident that this was not my last Grand Slam final, and that’s my biggest goal, to get into the next one and then to do it better than today.”
“I achieved much more than what I ever dreamed. But at the same time… it’s true that I went through tough moments,” Nadal said. After missing the North American hard court swing, he admitted there were some concerns on his fitness – although they were soon erased. “To arrive so-so, with some doubts with this clay-court season. Yeah, of course, you know how difficult everything is, especially after [I] went through these tough moments. Personally for me, it’s amazing.”