Rafael Nadal beats Dominic Thiem in straight sets to clinch unprecedented 11th title
Rafael Nadal, who has been rewriting history books since his first triumph at the 2005 French Open, won his eleventh title at Roland Garros on Sunday to add another record to his name.
In claiming a 17th Grand Slam title, Nadal matched Margaret Court's record of 11 titles at a single major — hers all coming at the Australian Open. There is nothing to suggest Nadal's domination on the Parisian dirt will end any time soon.
Thiem, who was trying to become only the second Austrian Grand Slam champion after Tomas Muster's 1995 Paris triumph, played his part in the two hours 42-minute tussle but was unable to sustain the high-octane tennis needed to ruffle Nadal.
Nadal victory. But as inevitable as the history-making seems, it never ceases to amaze. As his fallen rival, Dominic Thiem, pointed out during the trophy ceremony on Sunday that he was only 11 years old when a long-haired, baby-faced Nadal won his 2005 title. In the 13 years and 10 titles since his intensity hasn’t dropped. If possible, it burns even brighter on the red dirt now.
The Spaniard, who turned 32 during his Roland Garros fortnight, was once again at his grinding, unflinching, un-giving best as he downed Thiem 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 in Sunday’s final. This victory takes his total Grand Slam tally to 17, three behind Roger Federer’s
Rafael Nadal’s 11 triumphs in the French Open
2005: bt Mariano Puerta (Argentina) 6-7, 6-3, 6-1, 7-5
— At just 19, Nadal became the youngest winner of a Grand Slam title since Michael Chang won at Roland Garros in 1989 at 17. He was the first man since Mats Wilander in 1982 to win the French Open on his debut. Puerta was to later fail a drugs test and handed an eight-year ban, eventually reduced to two years.
2006: bt Roger Federer (Switzerland) 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6
— Nadal became the first man to beat Federer in a Slam final, ending the Swiss star’s hopes of holding all four majors at the same time. It was Nadal’s 60th win in a row on clay.
2007: bt Roger Federer (Switzerland) 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
— The 21-year-old Nadal became the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to win three successive titles at Roland Garros. He again also shattered Federer’s hopes of becoming only the third man in history to hold all four majors.
2008: bt Roger Federer (Switzerland) 6-1, 6-3, 6-0
— Nadal condemned his great rival to his worst ever loss in a Grand Slam event. The Spaniard also won the title without losing a set, becoming the third man to do so in the Open era after Ilie Nastase and Borg.
2010: bt Robin Soderling (Sweden) 6-4, 6-2, 6-4
— Nadal avenged his defeat to the Swede at Roland Garros 12 months earlier. Again, Nadal finished the tournament without having dropped a set. He also regained the world number one ranking for the first time since July 2009.
2011: bt Roger Federer (Switzerland) 7-5, 7-6, 5-7, 6-1
— Nadal claimed his sixth French Open to equal the record of Borg, also taking his Slam total into double figures at 10. Federer had ended Novak Djokovic’s 43-match undefeated run in the semi-finals.
2012: bt Novak Djokovic (Serbia) 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5
— Nadal goes past Borg’s record of six titles and ends Djokovic’s bid to be the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four majors. Rain meant that the final was completed on Monday which was tough on Djokovic who was a break up in the fourth set when the match was halted for the night.
2013: bt David Ferrer (Spain) 6-3, 6-2, 6-3
— Nadal comfortably beats his compatriot for an eighth French Open but the hard yards were achieved in the semi-finals when he defeated Djokovic 6?4, 3?6, 6?1, 6?7, 9?7 in a 4-hour 37-minute epic.
2014: bt Novak Djokovic (Serbia) 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4
— Title number nine in his ninth final for Nadal and his 14th Grand Slam success on an afternoon where temperatures nudged 30 degrees. It was his 45th career clay-court title.
2017: bt Stan Wawrinka (Switzerland) 6-2, 6-3, 6-1
— Nadal coasts to a record 10th French Open title, demolishing Wawrinka in a brutally one-sided final which also earns the Spaniard a 15th Grand Slam crown. Nadal, 31, becomes the first man in history to win the same major 10 times. It is his most one-sided final win since allowing Federer just four games in the 2008 final.
2018: bt Dominic Thiem (Austria) 6-4, 6-3, 6-2
Nadal hails his 11th French Open title as “just incredible” despite a worrying injury scare in the closing stages of the final.
The 32-year-old world number one now has 17 Grand Slam titles, just three behind great rival Roger Federer.