Nadal defeats Thiem in straight sets for 11th French Open title

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Rafael Nadal bagged a record-extending 11th French Open title on Sunday with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 thrashing of Dominic Thiem even as he faced injury scare late in the final.

Nadal has never lost a best-of-five-set match on clay when he has won the first set, and every time Thiem has faced the world number one the victor of the first set has gone on to take the match.

Thiem, a 24-year-old Austrian who was playing in his first Grand Slam final, had 18 unforced errors in first set and 42 for the match.

No stranger to rewriting the record books along with his friendly rival, Roger Federer, here is another feat for the Spaniard: He joined Margaret Court in becoming the only tennis players in history to win the same grand slam 11 times.

Either Federer or Nadal has captured each of the last six Grand Slam championships. "I played a great match against a great player", said Nadal. Thiem stayed with Nadal in the early going on a steamy afternoon. The Austrian had trouble with the Nadal serve, and he gave up an easy hold.

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Nadal's career title count, which is now fourth on the all-time list, behind Jimmy Connors (109), Federer (97), and Ivan Lendl (94), and ahead of John McEnroe (77), whose tally he equalled and then surpassed with titles this year in Barcelona and Rome, respectively.

"It's fantastic now, I can't describe my feelings", a sweat-soaked Nadal told the crowd.

11 is the number of times he has won in French Open final.

The Coupe des Mousquetaires trophy was back in Nadal's arms after his straight-sets victory over David Ferrer in 2013, but the hard yards were achieved in the semi-finals when he defeated Djokovic 6-4 3-6 6-1 6-7 9-7 in a four-hour, 37-minute epic.

"Rafael Nadal on Chatrier in the final of Roland Garros - no man has won this match", he added.

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

The Spaniard was quick to hammer home his advantage at the start of the second, converting his fifth break point of a lengthy game as Thiem's usually trusty backhand let him down.

Nadal is so dominant and so impervious on clay, in general, and at this tournament, especially, it made sense for Thiem to go for broke as much as possible, accepting that there would be risks along with the rewards.

It was more of the same in the second, as Nadal won the opening three games in quick time to take a commanding lead he would never relinquish.

"I am sure you will win here in the next couple of years", Nadal told Thiem afterward. 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. At the beginning of 2017, Federer held 17 Slams to Nadal's 14.

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