Nadal wins 11th French Open title

Beads of sweat run from Spain's Rafael Nadal's face as he prepares to serve against Austria's Dominic Thiem in the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadi

The No. 1 men's tennis player in the world cruised on Friday - looking vintage in domination -, who entered the French Open semis as No. 6 player in the ATP World Tour rankings.

"It is incredible. I am very happy".

Austria's Dominic Thiem wipes his face in the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament against Spain's Rafael Nadal at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Sunday, June 10, 2018. "But in the end, it was not too hard".

Nadal moved, once again, to within three grand slams of the Swiss. Nadal, Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray - the so-called Big Four - have dominated the men's game to such a degree that Thiem is only the second player now younger than 28 to have reached a major singles final. "What you did and what you are doing is the most outstanding thing that any athlete can achieve in sport". So he made the 10-hour drive back to Paris with his 88-year-old grandmother, mother and younger brother in a rental vehicle, then went out and won in the first round. He was the first man since Mats Wilander in 1982 to win the French Open on his debut.

Nadal becomes the second player in tennis history to win 11 singles titles at any Grand Slam tournament after Margaret Court, who claimed 11 Australian Open titles. For the last 14 years, he hasn't relented.

Thiem's best results also have come on clay.

Thiem, though, knows he isn't the only player to have succumbed to Nadal at the French Open.

Thiem didn't think that loose game to end the first set was as crucial as it might seemed to everyone else. What I was really shocked at was that he told us it was cramp in the interview afterwards and then he had treatment for it.

Spain's Rafael Nadal reacts as he plays Austria's Dominic Thiem during the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Sunday
Nadal has no 'obsession' to hunt down Federer tally

Bizarrely, Nadal then halted playing in the fourth game complaining of pain in his left hand and stretching his middle finger. He took the biggest of big cuts on groundstrokes, his feet leaving the ground as he threw his whole body into them, as if the very outcome - not of any individual point, but the whole shebang - depended on the strength of that one whip of his white racket.

Thiem dug in - especially in the roughly 13-minute sixth game - but he crumbled attempting to stay in the set, making four unforced errors.

When Thiem sent a return long on a fifth match point, Nadal raised his arms in celebration. A volley into the net. But from 4-all in the opening set, Nadal grabbed five games in a row and was in charge. Of those 20, the Spaniard only won one by hitting a victor.

Nadal broke Thiem in his first service game to give the 10-time champion an early 2-0 lead in the first set.

It was a cloudy and steamy afternoon, with the temperature at 77 degrees (24 Celsius) and the humidity approaching 70 percent.

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

Sunday's score might have looked rather routine but there was some drama in the third set in sticky Paris when Nadal called for the trainer at 2-1, 30-0.

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