Rafael Nadal claims record-extending 11th French Open crown

Nadal won a record-extending 11th title at Roland Garros and 17th major overall Sunday when he defeated his spirited challenger, Dominic Thiem, 6-4 6-3 6-2 in Paris.

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 is now the first player in the Open Era, male or female, to win 11 titles at three different tournaments, having also completed La Undécima at Monte Carlo and Barcelona in April this year.

It was hard not to feel sympathy for Thiem, playing in his first grand slam final against a man who simply does not lose this particular battle. For sure, me, I'm confident that this was not my last Grand Slam final, and that's my biggest goal, to get into the next one and then to do it better than today.

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"It's wonderful, I can't describe my feelings because it's not even a dream to win here 11 times", said an emotional Nadal after the final. Thiem was hammering every ball that he could, and Nadal was responding with his classic clay court defense. At the following changeover, Nadal was given a salt pill by a doctor and had his left forearm massaged by a trainer.

With Novak Djokovic far from his best and Andy Murray still a question mark after hip surgery, per Kevin Mitchell of the Guardian, the route for the likes of Federer and Nadal is about as clear as they could hope.

When he was recovering from injury this year, for the umpteenth time in his career, he was focused on this title and nothing - certainly not Dominic Thiem - was going to stand in his way. However, here past year in the semi-finals, Nadal destroyed Thiem, losing just seven games in a rout, but it is worth mentioning that Thiem triumphed in their last meeting in Madrid last month, in the quarter-finals. "To think that Rafael has won 11 times, it's unbelievable".

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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After winning just one point in the first two games, Thiem dragged himself back into the contest, only to throw away the opening set with an erratic 10th game as he was broken to love. After Nadal held there for 5-4, Thiem basically handed over the next game - and the set - by making four mistakes in a row.

The Spaniard was quick to hammer home his advantage at the start of the second, converting his fifth break point of a lengthy game as Thiem's usually trusty backhand let him down.

Nadal has not lost at Roland Garros when taking the first set and that record did not look like coming under threat as he continually rebuffed Thiem's attempts to make inroads into his serve, taking the second courtesy of an early break. He played a great two weeks. 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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