This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 8 °C Tuesday 18 June, 2019
Advertisement

Unstoppable Nadal makes history with remarkable 12th French Open title

Dominic Thiem produced a fine display, but the Austrian was ultimately well beaten at Roland Garros.

Rafael Nadal during today's French Open final.
Rafael Nadal during today's French Open final.

THE IRREPRESSIBLE RAFAEL Nadal produced yet another clay-court masterclass to overcome a superb effort from Dominic Thiem and make history with an astonishing 12th French Open triumph.

In improving his win-loss record at Roland Garros to a scarcely believable 93-2, courtesy of this afternoon’s 6-3 5-7 6-1 6-1 victory, Nadal became the first player in history to win a dozen singles crowns at a Grand Slam event, surpassing Margaret Court’s haul of 11 Australian Open victories.

At 33, the Spaniard looked as dominant as ever on Court Philippe-Chatrier and Thiem must have felt there was little more he could do as he was ultimately well beaten in the final for a second year in succession, despite producing some sparkling play of his own.

Thiem, who knocked out world number one Novak Djokovic in the last four, at least claimed a well-deserved set on this occasion after proving more than a match for the ‘King of Clay’ for the best part of two hours.

However, Nadal simply responded to the setback by racing to victory in ruthless fashion. It remains hard to see how he can possibly be stopped in this event when fully fit.

His third consecutive triumph in Paris means he now has 18 Slam titles, just two short of the record 20 claimed by his great rival, Roger Federer. Barring injury, this will surely not be the last time he lifts the Coupe des Mousquetaires.

France Tennis French Open Nadal reacts after sealing the victory. Source: Pavel Golovkin

Having eliminated Djokovic in a five-set contest that finished yesterday following interruptions for rain, Thiem could have been forgiven for starting sluggishly but the Austrian was magnificent in the opening exchanges, his admirable athleticism and court coverage matched by some superb shot-making.

The world number four even claimed the first break of the contest to edge 3-2 ahead, but Nadal – relentless and accurate as ever on his favourite surface – cancelled it out immediately before enjoying further success on Thiem’s serve and wrapping up the opening set to strike a hammer blow.

It was tough to find any way back for Thiem, particularly as the reigning champion repeatedly held serve with ease in set two, yet a surprising twist in the tale followed.

Having dropped only one point in five service games, Nadal made three successive errors serving at 5-6 and then put a backhand long under pressure, ensuring the match was back on level terms after an hour and three quarters.

Sadly for Thiem and those hoping for an upset, the underdog’s level dipped significantly at the start of set three, allowing a resurgent Nadal – who had left the court upon being pegged back – to swiftly reclaim the initiative with a run of 11 straight points and two successive breaks.

France Tennis French Open Dominic Thiem and Rafael Nadal after the presentation. Source: Christophe Ena

An increasingly aggressive Nadal was at his clinical best as he wrapped up the set in just 24 minutes, and the end was nigh when he won the first three games of the fourth, albeit while being forced to save a trio of break points.

Thiem, whose girlfriend Kristina Mladenovic won the women’s doubles title alongside Timea Babos earlier in the day, dug deep to recover from 0-40 in his next service game, but his display of grit only delayed the inevitable.

Nadal is simply unstoppable at Roland Garros. You can make a case for several different players being the greatest of all time, but his dominance of a single Slam is without parallel and may never be topped.

The42 is on Instagram! Tap the button below on your phone to follow us!

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

The42 Team

Read next:

COMMENTS (13)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel