Nadal defeats Thiem to capture 11th French Open title

Tanya Simon
Июня 10, 2018

But if you think it's going to be a simple Sunday stroll for Nadal to get this 11th French Open title, consider that his opponent is a fitting foe on the final stage.

Another feature was his ridiculously slow play when serving, nearly always over the 25-second limit and sometimes going well into the thirties.

The Austrian hit straight back to inflict an eleventh break of the tournament on the Spaniard as the first set became a mixture of brilliance and attrition, with the first seven games taking 45 minutes.

He was serving in the fourth game when he went back to his chair and unwrapped strapping on his left wrist. Thiem makes his second double fault in the game.

Nadal then served out that game.

"He played fantastic, so congratulations for a great performance", he said. And he took the biggest of big cuts on his groundstrokes, his feet leaving the ground as he threw his whole body into them, as if the very outcome of the match - not any individual point, but the whole shebang - depended on the strength of that one whip of his white racket.

Thiem has won 7-5 6-3 and lost creditably 7-6 6-4 in Madrid, and won 6-4 6-3 in Rome.

Fair enough Thiem was demolished by Nadal in last year's semi-final in Paris but today's seventh seed has added more aggression and self belief to his game.

If there was a scare for Nadal it was an outbreak of cramp in his left hand in the third set, which he managed to shake off, like everything else this fortnight.

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However, during the treatment Nadal revealed that he was concerned about whether he was going to be able to continue. In Sunday's final of the French Open, the 32-year-old will take on his supposed successor on clay.

It's also his 17th career major title.

Krejcikova and Siniakova, who are both 22, were playing in their fifth major tournament together.

The 31-year-old also needed a medical timeout to treat a neck injury which looked as if it would derail him when he slipped 0-2 down in the second set to the Italian outsider.

In contrast, there are eight women now younger than 28 who have been Grand Slam singles finalists.

Nadal has been crowned the French Open champion an incredible 11 times, following successes in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2017.

A remarkable year ended when the world No 1 completed a career Grand Slam by beating Novak Djokovic at Flushing Meadows.

Nevertheless, the Italian displayed marvellous inventiveness, nearly literally digging one or two low shots from Djokovic out of the clay, and even more importantly sheer tennis tenacity to win the day. The finals take place on Saturday and Sunday afternoon after 2 PM GMT.

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