Rafael Nadal wins record-extending 11th French Open

Imperious Nadal won a record-extending 11th French Open title with a 6-4 6-3 6-2 victory over young pretender Dominic Thiem.

There was late anxiety for Nadal as the predicted thunderstorms loomed and he needed his left forearm massaged after beginning to suffer from cramp.

Look back over Rafael Nadal's Grand Slam history after his 17th major win at the 2018 French Open at Roland Garros.

The victory also allowed the 32-year-old Spaniard to hold onto the No. 1 ranking.

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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.

"Physically I enjoyed more watching him on the couch", smiled Thiem, who was 11 years old when Nadal won his first French Open in 2005.

Nadal struck first in an enthralling opening set, breaking Thiem's first service game to take a two-game lead but they were back on serve immediately as the Austrian hit back.

Nadal had come into the year's second Grand Slam high on confidence, after wins in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome.

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But Thiem, unusually standing up to Nadal's first serve, forced two break points in the next game and converted the second with a flashing forehand into the right corner. The Spaniard would save just one breakpoint on his way to the business end of the set, where Thiem - serving 5-4 down - reeled off four enforced errors in a row to hand Nadal the set.

"Yes, and it's going to take probably one or two more years", said Gunter Bresnik, Thiem's coach.

Nadal is now the first player in the Open Era, male or female, to win 11 titles at three different tournaments, having also completed La Undécima at Monte Carlo and Barcelona in April this year.

Others highlighted Nadal's remarkable record at Roland Garros since first winning the title there in 2005. A forehand wide. A forehand into the net.

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By then, Nadal was finding his spots. 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. One down-the-line forehand victor landed right at the baseline and Thiem's shoulders sagged as he muttered to himself. Another forehand victor from Nadal found a corner, and Thiem yelled toward his coach. Those conditions might have contributed to the cramping that affected Nadal about two hours into the final, at 2-1 in the third set. After guzzling water during that break, Nadal felt better and was back to playing his unmistakable brand of almost unbeatable clay-court tennis.

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