King Rafael Nadal wins 12th French Open title

Updated: Jun 10, 2019, 09:07 IST | AFP

Spanish ace beats Dominic Thiem 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 to win French Open for a record 12th time - more than anyone else who has won the same Slam

King Rafael Nadal wins 12th French Open title
Spain's Rafael Nadal poses with the Mousquetaires Cup (The Musketeers) at the end of the men's singles final match against Austria's Dominic Thiem on day fifteen of The Roland Garros 2019 French Open tennis tournament in Paris. Pic/AFP

Rafael Nadal swept to an historic 12th Roland Garros title and 18th Grand Slam crown yesterday with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 victory over Austria's Dominic Thiem. Nadal, 33, becomes the first player, man or woman, to win the same Slam 12 times after seeing off a brave challenge from a weary Thiem in a repeat of the 2018 final.

Nadal is now just two behind Roger Federer's all-time record of 20 majors. The World No. 2 two also took his Paris record to an astonishing 93 wins and just two losses.

'Feel sorry for Thiem'
"I want to say congratulations to Dominic. I feel sorry as he deserves to win it as well. But he has every chance in the future. He has unbelievable talent and I want to encourage him," said Nadal. "It's a dream to win again, an incredible moment. When I first played here in 2005, I never thought I'd still be playing in 2019. It's very special for me."

Rafael Nadal falls to the ground after winning the French Open final against Dominic Thiem yesterday
Rafael Nadal falls to the ground after winning the French Open final against Dominic Thiem yesterday

Sunday's triumph confirmed the Big Three stranglehold on the Grand Slams having shared the last 10. It also gave Nadal an 82nd career title and 950th match win. In a 53-minute first set of brutal hitting and raw physicality, it was Thiem who broke first for a 3-2 lead. But his joy was short-lived as Nadal retrieved the break in the sixth game before racing away with the next three to win Set 1.

Thiem, who had beaten his opponent four times on clay in his career, failed to claim a single point off Nadal's first five service games in Set 2. However, he pushed and pushed, to force Nadal into three rushed ground strokes and, from nowhere, broke to take Set 2. It was the first set he had managed to take off Nadal at Roland Garros after three previous defeats. Nadal then swept the first 10 points of the third set, carving out a double break for 3-0 before sweeping to a third break for the set.

Tired opponent
Thiem, bidding to become just Austria's second Grand Slam champ after Thomas Muster won in Paris in 1995, had played four successive days to reach here and the toll was telling. He wasted break points in the first and third games of the fourth set and Nadal pounced to stretch to 3-0. That was soon 5-1 and the relentless barrage continued with Nadal taking the title on a second match point when Thiem hit long.

93-2
Nadal's win-loss record at the French Open

18
No. of Grand Slam titles Nadal has won, two less than Federer

82
No. of career titles Nadal has won

950
No. of match wins

Rafa's deadly dozen
. 2005: bt Mariano Puerta 6-7, 6-3, 6-1, 7-5
. 2006: bt Roger Federer 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6
. 2007: bt Roger Federer 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
. 2008: bt Roger Federer 6-1, 6-3, 6-0
. 2010: bt Robin Soderling 6-4, 6-2, 6-4
. 2011: bt Roger Federer 7-5, 7-6, 5-7, 6-1
. 2012: bt Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5
. 2013: bt David Ferrer 6-3, 6-2, 6-3
. 2014: bt Novak Djokovic 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4
. 2017: bt Stan Wawrinka 6-2, 6-3, 6-1
. 2018: bt Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-3, 6-2
. 2019: bt Dominic Thiem 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1

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