Tennis > French OpenVIDEO- Rafael Nadal Rain break was very good for
11 June, 2018, 17:15
It's hard to look at a 12-time Grand Slam champion and not compare him to what he was, but Novak Djokovic nearly needs to be viewed as a different player since his return from both personal issues and injuries.
Nadal's absurd level of success at Roland Garros is a microcosm of his sheer dominance on clay in general. Court claimed the last of her 11 at the Australian Open in 1973. Now, a decade later, the Spaniard is still the undisputed King of Clay.
He has come close in Paris before, losing in the semifinals past year (to Nadal) and in 2016 (to Novak Djokovic).
A dejected Nadal suffered a stunning loss against Robin Soderling at the French Open. In 2015, he was defeated by a seemingly-unstoppable Novak Djokovic.
Nadal now has a 100-point lead over Federer in the rankings with 8,770 points following his French Open win. It was released at the start of the 2018 French Open. Two players have succeeded in defeating him, and his body let him down on a third occasion.
Nadal is now the first player in the Open Era, male or female, to win the same Grand Slam tournament 11 times, a feat that has been dubbed La Undécima, after Real Madrid's bid to win an 11th European Cup. Nadal's had some challenges at Roland-Garros' championship stage over the years, but few athletes in any sport have ever been more acclimatized to a venue the way Nadal has owned the terra firma of Roland-Garros' grounds.
The German, however, struggled through three successive five-set matches before being trounced by Dominic Thiem.
Well, Nadal has answered that question now without too much trouble.
During the men's singles final, Nadal's left hand began to cramp.
And entering Sunday, there was at least some reason to believe that Thiem could make things interesting in the final.
Rafael Nadal described his performance at the French Open past year, when he didn't surrender a set, as "perfect". Could Thiem provide us with a classic final?
For an instant, before it became clear that he could continue, the unthinkable seemed possible. While serving down 4-5, Thiem played an absolutely atrocious game. That span would have been shorter, had he not pushed the allotted time between points well past the official limit of 25 seconds, reaching around 40 whenever Thiem put him under pressure on his own serve.
It didn't look good early on, having lost the first set and giving up an early break in the second set.
It made no difference; he could probably win this with one hand tied behind his back. He wound up with 42 unforced errors to Nadal's 24.
Thiem was considered the stiffest test for Nadal at the French Open and understandably so. In his two matches against Nadal at the French Open, Thiem has not been able to win even a set. This victory takes his total Grand Slam tally to 17, three behind Roger Federer's.
Grass hasn't tended to favour Nadal in recent years, and the return of a fit-again Roger Federer means he'll likely relinquish favourite status in England. As we head into Wimbledon, Federer and Nadal are the tournament's two favorites. It was his best performance of the fortnight, as Nadal confirmed on court, just when he needed it most.
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