Sports

Nadal eyes 11th French Open title as clock ticks

Nadal eyes 11th French Open title as clock ticks

He has already won titles in Rome, Barcelona, and Madrid while the only loss came in the quarter-final of Madrid Open against fellow French Open semi-finalist, Dominic Thiem.

"And if he would have won the tiebreak, he would be full power, for sure, in the third set".

In greenback terms that comes out at $2.6m, making it the smallest winner's prize of the year's four Grand Slam events and almost $1m less than the richest tournament the US Open which paid its 2017 winners - Nadal and Sloane Stephens - $3.7m each.

"It was a tough first set with opportunities for Juan Martin, I am fortunate that I won the first set and then I played more aggressively", Nadal, who equals Roger Federer's feat of reaching the final of a single Slam 11 times, said on court as fans chanted "Viva Espana". So there was mild concern when Nadal called for the trainer midway through a game, requiring treatment on what looked like cramp in his hand.

Nadal won the first set 6-4.

Rafael Nadal's remarkable Roland Garros reign continued as the world number one clinched an 11th French Open title with a straight-sets win over Dominic Thiem on Sunday. "I was 11 years old, watching in the TV and honestly never expected that one day I'd play the finals here".

Nadal lost the opening set 6-4, and went on to trail by 2-3 in the second on Wednesday when the match was spoiled by rain.

"Of course there is pressure, especially in Grand Slam finals, because I have gone a very long way now and I don't want to lose the final", said Thiem.

So what will he need to do to counter the credible threat of Thiem, the only man to beat him on clay this year, on Sunday?

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Truth is, there were not many the rest of the way, as Nadal finished with 35 winners and just 19 unforced errors.

Nadal has a 6-3 record against the seventh-seeded Thiem but the Austrian player prevailed the last time they met, in Madrid last month.

Once Nadal stole the opener with a break in the 10th game, it was one-way traffic.

By then, Nadal was finding his spots.

His exploits in Paris will help him to break into the top 20 for the first time in his career and Cecchinato hopes he will now be able to take advantage of being seeded at tournaments as he looks to challenge the more established players on a regular basis. Nadal claimed the final two points of that game in contrasting fashion, ripping a cross-court backhand that left the crowd gasping and deftly hitting a volley off a tricky net cord.

But Thiem showed resilience in getting two break points on Nadal's serve. Nadal had more trouble with another Argentine, the diminutive Diego Schwartzman, in the quarterfinals.

The No. 6-seeded pairing from the Czech Republic beat Eri Hozumi and Makoto Ninomiya of Japan 6-3, 6-3 on Sunday. The two stars have combined to win the past six Slams.

Del Potro, the US Open victor in 2009, is playing the tournament for only the second time since 2012 after a spate of injuries.


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