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Rafael Nadal clinches 11th French Open title in ‘Claywalk’

Rafael Nadal clinches 11th French Open title in ‘Claywalk’

Rafael Nadal has won his 11th French Open title thanks to a straight-sets victory over Dominic Thiem.

The Spanish world number one took his Roland Garros win-loss record to a jaw-dropping 86-2 as he captured his 17th Grand Slam title.

Nadal has never lost a best-of-five-set match on clay when he has won the first set, and every time Thiem has faced the world number one the victor of the first set has gone on to take the match.

The No. 7-seeded Thiem, a 24-year-old from Austria, appeared in his first Grand Slam final.

Nadal's triumph marks the sixth consecutive Grand Slam won by either him or 20-times major champion Roger Federer.

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. In 112 best-of-five-set matches, Nadal has never lost after claiming the first set.

Despite there being a wave of momentum now carrying the Spaniard following such a deserved win over Thiem, Nadal's most hard task of the year is yet to come at Wimbledon.

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

Nadal came in looking slightly more vulnerable than he did previous year, in which he lost only 35 games in claiming the title.

Australian tennis legend Ken Rosewall told the crowd he would have liked to see a few more sets.

"It's awesome, bravo. I saw you win this in 2005 when I was just 11 years old".

This was Nadal's 11th win at the French Open, also known as Roland Garros.

But from the moment Nadal broke serve in the 10th game to win the opening set Thiem's belief ebbed away.

Thiem was on the couch, watching on TV, in 2005, when Nadal earned his first Grand Slam trophy in Paris at age 19.

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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.

He was the only man to beat Nadal on clay over the past two seasons, doing so twice.

The Austrian won just one point in falling 2-0 behind but got back on serve immediately courtesy of two pinpoint forehands, and three rescued break points over games four and six were further evidence of his growing confidence.

He bagged the second set when Thiem sent a backhand long.

But Nadal held with some clever drop shots and after taking the second set it merely became a race against time to finish off Thiem before the rain arrived.

The number of Masters 1000 titles won by Nadal, the most by a single player since the series began in 1990.

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