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Nadal - The King of Clay- Wins 11th French Open Title

11 June 2018

"You know when you start the clay court season that Dominic, he's one of these players that have the chance to win every tournament that he's playing, and maybe even more here in Roland Garros because he's strong physically".

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.

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

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

The Austrian hit straight back to inflict an eleventh break of the tournament on the Spaniard as the first set became a mixture of brilliance and attrition, with the first seven games taking 45 minutes. But after, the Spaniard was imperious.

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

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- Nadal hails his 11th French Open title as "just incredible" despite a worrying injury scare in the closing stages of the final.

Throw in three titles at the US Open, two at Wimbledon and one at the Australian Open, and Nadal is up to 17 majors, second among men only to Roger Federer's 20.

Nadal's 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 victory at age 32 was a tribute to his enduring excellence and drive, and to his continuing ability to bounce back.

Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News.

"Tough moment in the third set when I got a little bit cramped on the hand", Nadal said.

Thiem undid all his good work in the next game, netting an easy volley on the first point and gifting Nadal three more unforced errors to hand over the first set.

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"Let me enjoy this title".

"That's my biggest goal, to get into the next one and then to do it better than today", he said.

Thiem has beaten Nadal twice recently, so an upset was not out of the question. "What you did and what you are doing is the most outstanding thing that any athlete can achieve in sport". Thiem withstood a barrage of break points to hold in a marathon sixth game, which he thought he had won at 40-30 when he left a wide ball, only for the umpire to overrule the line judge. A forehand long. Just like that, Nadal was off on a five-game run that put him up 3-0 in the second set.

Well, Nadal has answered that question now without too much trouble.

A few hours earlier, as Nadal and Thiem warmed up, the booming voice of the announcer at Court Philippe Chatrier detailed the bona fides of both.

"If you tell me seven, eight years ago that I will be here. having this trophy with me again, I will tell you that is something nearly impossible", Nadal said. At this point, tennis enthusiasts would likely welcome it - but might just as well appreciate Nadal if he were to overpower his way to another Coupe des Mousquetaires piece of hardware.

More news: Rafael Nadal secures 11th French Open title

Nadal - The King of Clay- Wins 11th French Open Title