King Rafael Nadal wins 12th French Open title
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
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
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.
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.
Rafael Nadal rivalries
Rafael Nadal has had some of the most epic and long standing rivalries in his career. Nadal's rivalry with Roger Federer in all the Grand Slams over the years can be considered as the best rivalry in tennis history. Early in his career the rivalry was mostly with Federer, but in the last decade it has been Federer and Djokovic for Nadal in the finals of Grand Slams. Therefore it was no surprise wHEN Rafael Nadal was considered as the out n out favourite in the French Open 2019 final against Dominic Thiem.
Nadal's win-loss record at the French Open
No. of Grand Slam titles Nadal has won, two less than Federer
No. of career titles Nadal has won
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
With inputs from AFP
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