Tuesday, 19 June, 2018

Rafael Nadal scales heights again to claim 11th French Open title

Rafael Nadal ReutersRafael Nadal celebrates after winning his semi final match
Rita Gibson | 14 June, 2018, 16:37

Others - including USA former tennis great Billie Jean King and ex-male professional James Blake - praised Nadal's victory, which was dominant despite an injury scare with hand cramp in the latter stages of the third set.

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.

He also won Wimbledon for a second time in 2010 before claiming his first U.S. Open title, becoming the seventh man to win all four Grand Slams. I had a long and mentally tough clay court season, of course, because I played nearly all the matches possible after coming from an injury. Entered the Hall of Fame and admired by everyone when she went to attend the meetings of Wimbledon, Maria could not win the most important game, the one against breast cancer.

"For me was scary, because I felt that I was not able to move the hand, the finger", Nadal said.

The Austrian is one of only three players to down Nadal on clay at least three times; the world No. 8 was the last man to overcome Nadal on clay, last month in Madrid.

However, you will never hear Nadal echo similar brash confidence despite his straight-sets win over Dominic Thiem in the final.

Nadal also did not win the title in 2016, as he withdrew with an injury before his third-round match.

Nadal was rampant when he broke early in the second but Thiem raised his game to force a break point when Nadal served at 4-2 - a game in which the Spaniard was warned for slow play. "But it has still been a great two weeks for me here".

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Halep, Caroline Wozniacki and Garbine Muguruza remained the WTA's top three, but French Open runner-up Sloane Stephens went from No 10 to a career-high No 4. Thiem was still on the back foot in the third set, being forced to save four break points in the first game.

Why? Nadal was 95-0 when capturing the opener on clay in the best of five format.

Thiem undid all his good work in the next game, netting an easy volley on the first point and gifting Nadal three more unforced errors to hand over the first set.

"He was playing very well, I think, and there is a reason why he won 11 times here", Thiem said.

A trainer was called and he briefly inspected Nadal's left wrist.

Thiem saved a first breakpoint in that game but couldn't save the second, hitting a forehand wide. For a time, fans could nearly believe that Thiem would present a challenge in this match.

In greenback terms that comes out at $2.6m, making it the smallest winner's prize of the year's four Grand Slam events and almost $1m less than the richest tournament the US Open which paid its 2017 winners - Nadal and Sloane Stephens - $3.7m each.

Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic have won the French Open for their first Grand Slam title in women's doubles.

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