Rafael Nadal won his 11th French Open title on Sunday as the top-seeded Spaniard cruised past seventh-seeded Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 in the final at Roland Garros.
Nadal, 32, now has won 17 majors, just three shy of Roger Federer’s men’s record. He also improved his own record of most titles at a single Grand Slam.
“I’m very happy,” Nadal said. “Tough moment in the third set when I got a little bit of cramping on the hand, I was very, very scared. But that is sport. Today is very humid against a player that push you to the limits. It’s amazing. I can’t describe my feelings because it’s not even a dream — win here 11 times. It’s impossible to think of something like this. So just to say thank you very, very much everybody.”
Thiem was aggressive in the opening set, but had 18 unforced errors — including a series of errors while he was trailing 4-5 that handed the first set to Nadal after 59 minutes of play.
The second set saw Nadal keep the pressure on Thiem, who fell behind by a break thanks to eight unforced errors in the first three games. Thiem reined it in, but was unable to regain momentum against Nadal, who has lost just nine times on clay after winning an opening set.
In the third set, Nadal earned an early break to again take a commanding lead but was forced to take a medical timeout for apparent cramping after the fourth game. A trainer helped bend his fingers into place, then massaged Nadal’s left forearm and palm during a timeout on the next changeover.
Any hope for Thiem that an injury might give him new life quickly dissipated however, as Nadal continued his assault and quickly finished out the match after going up by a double break.
“He had played great weeks,” Nadal said of Thiem in his on-court interview. “I’m happy. He’s a good friend. One of these players that the tour needs. So just well done, comrade, and I’m sure that you will win here in the next couple of years.”
The win also continues Nadal’s undefeated run on championship weekend in Roland Garros — the Spaniard has never lost in Paris after reaching the semifinals and has a stellar 86-2 record.
The 24-year-old Thiem, from Austria, was playing in his first Grand Slam final.
Thiem had beaten Nadal twice on clay in the last 13 months — once at Rome in 2017 and again in Madrid earlier this season.