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RAFA Nadal Wins Roland Garros • Bests Dom Thiem, Triumphs For 11th Time At 2018 French Open• Paris

By Ricky Dimon


What were you doing back in 2005? Other than watching Rafael Nadal win the French Open, you may not be able to remember. That’s how long ago it was.


Fast forward to 2018–that’s 13 years later, for those counting–and Nadal is still out here winning French Opens.


Of course, winning is an understatement. Dominating is more accurate.


Nadal lifted the Coupe des Mousquetaires for the 11th time and for the second straight year following a two-year drought when he beat Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 on Sunday afternoon. The Spaniard, who dropped just one set throughout the entire event, triumphed after two hours and 42 minutes.


Playing in his first career major final, Thiem managed to be competitive only through nine games. The Austrian, previously a two-time RG semifinalist, recovered from an immediate service donation to break back for 1-2 in the first set before holding on the way to 4-4. Following a Nadal hold in the ninth game, Thiem buckled under the pressure of serving to stay in the opener. Nadal broke at love to close things out and thus was off to the races.


The 32-year-old made a mere 12 unforced errors throughout the remainder of the match–the same number he had committed in the first set alone. He faced just one break point in the second and none in the third, stumbling only when he reached triple-championship point at 5-2. Nadal saw four championship points in total go by the wayside before capitalizing on his fifth when Thiem sent a backhand return slightly past the baseline.


“I don’t think he was out of the match (at any point),” Nadal said of his opponent. “Maybe at the end when I had a break against him (in the third set)…. [It was] at the end of the third set when I was able to get a 5-2 that I really overcame him, but I believe that tactically he was good and [tennis-wise] he played well. I went to the court with a clear idea of what I wanted to do; I applied it well. I don’t know; I don’t know if you saw it in any other way, but I felt the match was good throughout.


“It means, first of all, adding one more title of the most important tournament for me during the year,” the world No. 1 continued. “It also means knowing that for the rest of the year you know that whatever happens, the year is going to be good; and you feel a bit [relaxed].”


“It’s really a great thing that I made my way (to the final) and that I was competing in a final against [Nadal],” Thiem reflected. “It’s a really great thing, but still I’m disappointed. It was a final; I really wanted to win.


“It’s a big goal for me to play soon (in) another slam finals. Of course it’s going to be easier then, because it’s not going to be the first time anymore. Then hopefully I can do it better than today.”


Thiem is surely right about one thing: it can’t possibly be any tougher than going up against Nadal at the French Open.


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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