Paris - Rafael
Nadal claimed an 11th French Open title on Sunday with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2
demolition of Dominic Thiem 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.
Nadal endured a nervy conclusion to the final, however, when he
needed treatment in the fourth game of the third set for a finger injury
before sealing victory on a fifth match point when Thiem fired a
"It's really incredible. I played a great match against a great player," said Nadal.
"I had tough moment in the third set with cramps in my hand. I was very scared but that's sport - it was very humid.
"To win 11 times here - it's fantastic and not something I ever dreamed of."
Nadal joins Australia's Margaret Court as the only player to win 11 titles at the same major.
Victory also took Nadal's record at Roland Garros to 86 wins and just two losses.
For Thiem, playing in his first Slam final, it was a tremendous
letdown for a player who is the only man to have beaten the Spaniard on
clay in the last two years.
With a celebrity audience - including actors Hugh Grant and Tim Roth
as well as French stars Marion Cotillard and Jean Dujardin - watching,
Nadal flew out of the blocks.
He reeled off the first six points for a 2-0 lead before Thiem settled and repaired the damage for 2-2.
The Austrian speared a 222km/h ace just for good measure in the fourth game to save a break point.
He saved another two in the 11-minute sixth game, a performance
cheered by the crowd who briefly became more animated when glum-looking
French football icon Zinedine Zidane was spotted in the stadium.
Despite matching Nadal forehand for forehand, Thiem was undone in the
10th game when three errors handed Nadal the opening set after 52
minutes on court.
A wild, misguided forehand sealed his fate, one of 18 unforced errors to Nadal's 12 in the set.
In their previous nine meetings, all on clay, the man who took the opening set went on to win the match.
That scenario loomed again with Nadal going to 2-0 in the second set
on a fifth break point as Thiem fired another backhand wide.
Thiem wasted a break point in the seventh game as Nadal collected a time violation for taking too long to serve.
The world number one saved it and went on to secure a two sets lead when yet another backhand from the Austrian drifted wide.
Thiem was under the cosh, saving four break points in the first game of the third set before Nadal inevitably broke for 2-1.
Bizarrely, Nadal then halted playing in the fourth game complaining of pain in his left hand and stretching his middle finger.
He still won the game anyway before summoning the doctor and trainer courtside.
Whatever the problem, his dominance remained and a love game took him
to 4-2 before he eventually sealed victory on a fifth match point when
the Austrian fired another backhand long.
Results from day 15 of the French Open at Roland Garros on Sunday (x denotes seeding):
Rafael Nadal (ESP x1) bt Dominic Thiem (AUT x7) 6-4, 6-3, 6-2
Barbora Krejcikova/Katerina Siniakova (CZE/CZE x6) bt Eri Hozumi/Makoto Ninomiya (JPN/JPN) 6-3, 6-3