Nadal eyes 11th French Open as Thiem shrugs off expectations

Arnold Nichols
June 11, 2018

Playing the king of clay at the French Open is akin to scaling Mont Blanc without any ropes and even an intrepid adventurer from Europe's Alpine heartland found it a peak too steep as Rafael Nadal claimed an 11th title on Sunday.

As he sat down in the French Open lounge on Saturday, Günter Bresnik, Dominic Thiem's coach, was asked about Thiem's upcoming French Open final against Rafael Nadal, the finest clay court tennis player of all time.

Beaten French Open finalist Dominic Thiem believes this won't be his only shot at Grand Slam glory.

"I would love to be playing in as many places as possible, but you understand I need to check how I feel in the next couple of days", said Nadal as he pondered his preparation for Wimbledon which gets underway in three weeks' time. But after, the Spaniard was imperious.

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.

Federer (9 at Halle, 8 at Basel) and Argentine clay-court legend Guillermo Vilas (8, Buenos Aires) are the male players with the next highest number of titles at a tournament below Grand Slam level.

17 Grand Slam titles by Rafael Nadal is the second most in men's category in Open Era after Roger Federer's 20.


The Spaniard continued his extraordinary domination at Roland Garros with a ruthless 6-4 6-3 6-2 victory.

Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. His emotions were on show as he shed a few tears when the national anthem of Spain was played in his honour for the 11th time, an obvious sign of what this tournament means to him.

However, he fell to a third successive straight-set defeat by the Spaniard at the French Open. Thiem also made 37 forced errors to Nadal's 21. Rafa Nadal goes in search of his 11th French Open title but don't count out Novak Djokovic - and what about the in-form Alexander Zverev?

"I am sure, " Nadal said after the match, "you will win here in the next couple of years". The clay of Paris is the clay of Nadal, who has fallen in victory six times to his back and thrice to his knees, plus the two occasions standing, winding up 10 times behind the baseline and one sprawled between the service boxes, living a single dream of many so very many times.

After winning 26 of his 27 matches throughout the European claycourt season and 81 of his last 86 sets on clay, there is nothing to suggest Nadal's domination in Paris will end soon.

That was swatted away with Nadal's double-handed backhand, though, and the second set duly went the way of the favourite.

We picked up a victor in Friday's semi-final with Rafa Nadal comprehensively thrashing Juan Martin Del Potro, to cover the -6.5 game handicap easily. He lost the first set, then turned things around after a rain delay.

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