World number one Rafael Nadal continued his dominance over the clay courts of Paris on Sunday afternoon, with the Spaniard claiming an record-extending 11th French Open title with a straight sets win over Dominic Thiem.
Nadal had dropped just one set on his way to the final, his 11th final at the tournament in just 14 appearance, though Thiem has been the only person over the past two seasons to beat the Spaniard on clay over the past two seasons, and some people were backing the seventh seed to claim his first Grand Slam title on Sunday. However, despite some competitive clashes, Nadal was mostly in control, claiming a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 win in two hours and 42 minutes to seal a 17th major title.
Nadal proves too tough for Thiem as Spaniard secures ‘undecima’
Nadal was undoubtedly the favorite heading in, though many did give the Austrian a fighting chance. Thiem by no means played badly, though could do very little to hurt Nadal as the Spaniard made further history on a humid afternoon in Paris.
It was Nadal who started the brightest, breaking early on for a 2-0 lead, though Thiem responded quickly as he broke straight back to settle his nerves in his maiden Grand Slam title. Both men seemingly settled into form after that, with Thiem facing more trouble on serve but remaining solid as he saved further break points down 2-3. However, the world number one looked comfortable on serve towards the end of the set, and broke Thiem to love at 5-4 to seal the opener after 57 minutes.
The Spaniard had finished the first set strongly, and brought that momentum into the second as he broke early on in the second set, consolidating unlike in set one as he quickly built a commanding 3-0 lead on Court Philippe Chatrier. Thiem, was just little off Nadal’s level, was able to get in the set and hold serve, though crucially missed a chance to break when his opponent was 4-2 up. Thiem managed to apply some pressure, though Nadal comfortably served out the second set for a two set lead.
There was no doubt that Thiem faced a huge task now, and though he saved a handful of break points in the opening game of the set, the top seed broke in the Austrian’s next service game to put himself in touching distance of the title. Nadal was now looking imperious on serve, not facing too much trouble despite a slight injury scare, and he eventually put himself in charge of the set completely, breaking Thiem for a second time to serve for victory at 5-2, and converted a fifth match point to take the title.
Nadal was undoubtedly the huge favorite heading into the tournament, and another Roland Garros victory not only means he stays as the world number one, but adds to his status as one of the all-time greats of the sport. Meanwhile, whilst the final ultimately ended in disappointment for Thiem, you cannot help that feel that there are Grand Slam titles in the Austrian’s future, perhaps even here once Nadal relinquishes his stranglehold on the Coupe de Mousquetaires.