Same result, different day for French Open champion Rafael Nadal

Some silky football skills from Stephens

As the sound of Nadal's ball-striking groans echoing through Court Philippe Chatrier has become one of the melodic fixtures of Paris, he has won the French Open more than anybody has won anything among the four coveted majors, with the exception of Margaret Court's 11 Australian Open titles, four won during the Open Era that began in 1968.

Rafael Nadal celebrates his 11th French Open win.

The Austrian - competing in his first grand slam final after a pair of semifinal showings in Paris - needed to win the first set to have any realistic opportunity of ending Nadal's reign. The best? Roger Federer, of course, who's made 30 Grand Slam finals and won 20 of them.

Federer and Nadal have something else ridiculous in common: they're the only two players in men's tennis history to reach at least 11 finals in a specific Grand Slam.

Nadal's introduction included a year-by-year accounting of every time he'd already won the title at Roland Garros.

After Simona Halep won a maiden grand slam in the women's singles yesterday, what chance does Dominic Thiem have this afternoon of making it a weekend of first-timers?

Even a cramp in his left hand early in the third set, which required a rub-down of his left forearm, did not stop him as he closed out for victory.

The victory also allowed the 32-year-old Nadal to hold onto the No. 1 ranking, just ahead of Federer.

If there were any reason for a bit of intrigue entering Sunday's match, it was this: Thiem beat Nadal in two sets on red clay at Rome in May 2017 and again at Madrid last month.

Rafael Nadal once again proved why he is called the King of Clay as he extended his record at the French Open on Sunday.

"Tough moment", Nadal would say later. "I am sure you'll win here in the next couple of years". "What you did and what you are doing is the most outstanding thing that any athlete can achieve in sport".

Over the best-of-five sets on clay, Nadal improved to 111-2 - it is a figure nearly as imposing as the nearby Eiffel Tower - his lone reverses coming against Robin Soderling in 2009 and Novak Djokovic in 2015 at the French Open.

Thiem, now 24 and ranked a career-high No. 7 following his first major final, said he enjoyed seeing Nadal thundering away from the comfort of his childhood couch far more than trying to field the lightning bolts coming at him across the net Sunday.

By then, Nadal was finding his spots.

Just like that, Nadal was off on a five-game burst to lead 3-0 in the second set.

Dominic Thiem couldn't get near the veteran on the day, despite the fact the Austrian had been the only player to defeat Nadal on Clay during this current season.

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



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