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French Open 2018: Rafael Nadal wins 11th title

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One of the rallies of the tournament

The king of clay has his first major of 2018 and will be eager to add a second when the Grand Slam calendar turns to Wimbledon in July, although it's been eight years since he last made the final at SW19.

"I played my best match of the tournament", Nadal told the crowd afterward. Across the other slow-medium clay venues - Monte Carlo, Barcelona and here - Nadal has utterly schooled 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.

Well, Nadal has answered that question now without too much trouble.

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

"It is always my dream to win this trophy, you all know how important the tournament is to me". He persists at his punishing physicality and pounding shots even 13 long and grinding years after the wonder from the Spanish island of Mallorca debuted at Roland Garros with sleeveless shirts, clam-digger shorts, shoulder-length hair and MMA muscles, and, two days after his 19th birthday, won his first title and said, "I fight every point, every point, no?"

Thiem is the only man to have beaten Nadal on clay over the past two seasons, including a surprise victory in the Madrid Open quarter-finals last month, but there was no repeat shock on Court Philippe Chatrier as the top seed prevailed 6-4 6-3 6-2.

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In full control of the French Open final, a rather familiar position for him, Rafael Nadal suddenly was anxious. However, in Open Era, he is the first player ever (man or woman) to complete La Undécima in a single Grand Slam event.

But the Austrian freed his shoulders and broke back in the third game with a forehand victor - pumping his fists in the direction of coach Gunter Bresnik. But from 4-all in the opening set, Nadal grabbed five games in a row and was in charge.

Whatever the issue was, Thiem could not earn the break back-giving up another one while serving down 4-2-and Nadal took the third set and the title. It was Nadal's 60th win in a row on clay.

And he increased the tempo further, consigning Thiem to defeat in his first major final when the Austrian sent a return long.

He set his jaw and stared off into space, downcast, as the love poured down for Nadal after the match, but managed a smile when Nadal predicted he would win a championship here.

Despite the loss, the 24-year-old Austrian said it had been a "great two weeks" for him. After guzzling water during his visit from the doctor, Nadal was back to playing his unmistakable brand of almost unbeatable clay-court tennis.

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