Rafael Nadal claims record-extending 11th French Open crown

The 32 year-old Spaniard earned an incredible eleventh French Open title when swatted away the challenge of Dominic Thiem 6-4 6-3 6-2 to continue his reign as the undisputed king of clay.

Nadal called on the trainer to get his forearms massaged twice in the final set but even that problem failed to improve Thiem's chances of emulating fellow Austrian Thomas Muster's 1995 triumph.

Look back over Rafael Nadal's Grand Slam history after his 17th major win at the 2018 French Open at Roland Garros.

Sunday's victory guaranteed that he will remain No. 1 in the rankings.

Ramos is now in Russian Federation with the Spanish squad as they prepare for the World Cup, but took time out to tweet in Spanish, hailing Nadal for his "dynasty on clay", calling him a "tennis legend" and "sporting hero".

Rafael Nadal celebrates after victory over Dominic Thiem to win the French Open.

The Austrian - competing in his first grand slam final after a pair of semifinal showings in Paris - needed to win the first set to have any realistic opportunity of ending Nadal's reign.

In a 10-minute second game of the second set, Thiem suffered more trauma.

He saved three break points in his first service game but a wayward backhand ensured Nadal took the fourth. Became the first man to win five successive French Open titles in 2014.

It was a match told in break points.

Nadal is so dominant and so impervious on clay, in general, and at this tournament, especially, it made sense for Thiem to go for broke as much as possible, accepting that there would be risks along with the rewards. That led to 34 winners (eight more than Nadal), but also 42 unforced errors (18 more than Nadal).

The 24-year-old is widely expected to be Nadal's heir on clay and Rusedski believes he must change his game if he is to fulfil his destiny. Midway through the opening set, Nadal's aqua T-shirt was so soaked with sweat it stuck to him, so he changed into a fresh one at a changeover, drawing catcalls from spectators. A volley into the net.

Why? Nadal was 95-0 when capturing the opener on clay in the best of five format.

By then, Nadal was finding his spots. Any hopes of an upset all but disappeared along with the ragged Thiem forehand which sailed way beyond the baseline.

The punishment continued, with Thiem by now looking up to his coach and shrugging as another forehand whistled past him. Those conditions might have contributed to the cramping that affected Nadal about two hours into the final, at 2-1 in the third set.

The number of Masters 1000 titles won by Nadal, the most by a single player since the series began in 1990.

Vanessa Coleman

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