Same result, different day for French Open champion Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal defended his French Open title defeating Dominic Thiem in dominating fashion 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.

Nadal's celebration was restrained ― throwing his arms skywards and turning to his entourage including coach and fellow Mallorcan Carlos Moya and his uncle Toni who stood down past year when his nephew Nadal reached La Decima.

However, Nadal has won both their clashes at Roland Garros - in 2014 and in last year's semi-finals by a comfortable 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 margin. The Spaniard got early breaks in the second and third set, to keep a battling, but baffled, Thiem at bay.

If there were any reason for a bit of intrigue entering Sunday's match, it was this: Thiem is the only person to beat Nadal on red clay over the past two seasons, doing so at Rome in May 2017 and at Madrid last month.

In an interview yesterday, Nadal said, he will have to "play his best" to beat Dominic Thiem in Sunday's French Open final and secure an 11th Roland Garros title.

Nadal retained the momentum in the second set, breaking his opponent in the second game and holding out to edge closer to yet another title at Roland Garros.

Thiem's fighting spirit was evident in abundance - he continued to put pressure on Nadal through his return game, while consistently scrapping to stave off perilous positions on his own serve - but ultimately the Spaniard's quality and, often, his sheer force of will, won the day. A massive part of Nadal's legend on clay is that he makes players, however good, however aggressive, play on his terms.

Rafael Nadal "could never dream of" winning 11 French Open titles.

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Spain's Rafael Nadal is victorious over his 11th French Open win.

Nadal celebrated in relatively low key fashion, but then there is not much novelty value in this.

The King of Clay. Nadal's level immediately cooled off a little, though, and Thiem worked his way back into the set as he broke back in the following service game. "Of course, I have ambition, I have passion for what I am doing, but I never have been insane about all this kind of stuff", Nadal told a news conference. Serving to stay in the set at 4-5, the Austrian had Nadal scampering with a massive forehand down the line, but with the entire expanse of the court to play with, he dumped a resultant backhand volley into the net.

At least Thiem has in the past found the key to unravelling the Nadal clay court enigma.

In Madrid, Thiem thrived in the quicker, higher altitude conditions to win their quarter-final in straight sets.

Overall, the 32-year-old has won 17 Grand Slam championships - the four most important tennis events held annually in France, United States, Britain and Australia.

He now has three grand slam titles since turning 30.

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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