Rafael Nadal beats Dominic Thiem for 11th French Open title
11 Junio, 2018, 02:42 | Author: Thomas Hicks
"I'm facing Rafa so I'm not the one who has the pressure", said Thiem.
The number of consecutive sets won on clay by Nadal, breaking the previous record for most consecutive sets won on a single surface by McEnroe, who won 49 on carpet in 1984.
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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.
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.
In 2003, at the age of 16, Nadal became the youngest man to reach the third round of Wimbledon since Boris Becker in 1984. Some of the moves and shots he displayed against del Poltro were throwbacks to 2010 and 2011.
An edgy Thiem won only one of the first eight points as Nadal, cheered to the rafters when he walked on court, bristled with intent. The trainer massaged Nadal's forearms twice but it was still not good enough to halt the Spaniard and the job was complete when Thiem's backhand sailed long. Nadal is 49-2 since 2017 when playing on clay.
The Austrian is hitting is stride, and seems to be in his prime, and so we could be in for a compelling final.
"Winning 11 times is definitely one of the best things somebody ever achieved in sport".
He said it was because he had started the clay-court season with "some doubts" before going on to win a record-extending 11th title at Roland Garros. Midway through the opening set, Nadal's aqua T-shirt was so soaked with sweat it stuck to him, so he changed into a fresh one at a changeover, drawing catcalls from spectators. Thiem got hold off that point quite easily serving the ball away and right to Nadal. Across the other slow-medium clay venues - Monte Carlo, Barcelona and here - Nadal has utterly schooled Thiem.
"Let me enjoy this title". Both men are at stages in their career that have previously been points of great decline for the greats who came before them. "So there is not 10 more chances to keep playing here".
And he increased the tempo further, consigning Thiem to defeat in his first major final when the Austrian sent a return long. It is as simple as it is hard: Thiem will likely need the best match of his life to earn his first major tennis title. Nadal's streak began at Roland Garros a year ago and was ended by Thiem, who beat the Spaniard in straight sets in the quarterfinals of the Madrid Open.
The No. 7-seeded Thiem, a 24-year-old from Austria, was appearing in a major final for the first time.
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.
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The Spaniard also won the title without losing a set, becoming the third man to do so in the Open era after Ilie Nastase and Borg. Rafael Nadal seeks an unprecedented 11th French Open title when he faces No. 7 Dominic Thiem in Sunday's final at Roland Garros.
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There's not much room for errors here. "We're laughing about it because at one point that's the only thing you've got to do". But he admitted that will it be hard to edge out his rivals due to the similar speeds between the front three teams.