Published: Sun, June 10, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Imperious Nadal downs Thiem to claim 11th French Open crown

Nadal was in unstoppable form as he powered to a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 win at Roland Garros.

For Thiem, playing in his first Slam final, it was a tremendous letdown for a player who is the only man to have beaten the Spaniard on clay in the last two years.

Chief among those praising Nadal was defender Ramos.

Nadal came in looking slightly more vulnerable than he did previous year, in which he lost only 35 games in claiming the title.

Ramos is now in Russian Federation with the Spanish squad as they prepare for the World Cup, but took time out to tweet in Spanish, hailing Nadal for his "dynasty on clay", calling him a "tennis legend" and "sporting hero".

German footballer Mario Gotze - who is not in Russian Federation with the national team but who scored the winning goal for his team in the final in Brazil four years ago - also paid tribute to Nadal.

'To me, it's still been a great two weeks.

It is Nadal's 11th singles title at Roland Garros, five more than any other man in the Open Era.

The score may have looked rather routine but there was some drama in the third set when Nadal called for the trainer at 2-1, 30-0.

Thiem was considered the stiffest test for Nadal at the French Open and understandably so. After his win over Dominic Thiem, the Spaniard stressed his maximum commitment for tennis: 'For me, the motivation to play here always is high, high as possible.

Nadal's win-loss record at the French Open, his only two losses coming against Swede Robin Soderling in the fourth round in 2009 and against Djokovic in the quarterfinals in 2015.

He reeled off the first six points for a 2-0 lead before Thiem settled and repaired the damage for 2-2. The Argentine ended Nadal's run of 37 consecutive sets in a rain-delayed quarter-final before the Spaniard won the contest upon the resumption on Thursday under glorious blue skies.

But against Thiem, there was nothing wrong with Nadal's start.

At 4-4 Nadal hit a second serve that bounced before it reached the net but he shrugged that off to hold.

Thiem, mixing heavy topspin and flat groundstrokes and angling balls across the sidelines, saved a break point at 1-2 and two more at 2-3 and there were signs that Nadal was struggling with his timing - over-cooking several forehands.

Nadal celebrated in relatively low key fashion, but then there is not much novelty value in this.

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