Rafael Nadal beats Dominic Thiem for 11th French Open title

Thiem watched Nadal pick up his first title on the television as a child.

Slow starts have plagued Nadal in several of his matches this fortnight, most notably against 11th-Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals.

Nadal struck first in an enthralling opening set, breaking Thiem's first service game to take a two-game lead but they were back on serve immediately as the Austrian hit back. Only Thiem's 2016 victory over Nadal in Buenos Aires was a success on non-quick clay.

Over the best-of-five sets on clay, Nadal improved to 111-2 - it is a figure nearly as imposing as the nearby Eiffel Tower - his lone reverses coming against Robin Soderling in 2009 and Novak Djokovic in 2015 at the French Open.

Prior to today's match, Nadal, 32, has won a record 10 titles in Paris and has lost only twice at the tournament since his debut in 2005.

A year later he exacted his revenge over the Swede, but this time in the final for his fifth Roland Garros title. This season no other player, not even the undisputed King of Clay, can count as many match wins on the red dirt as Thiem.

Nadal ended a three-year Grand Slam drought with a brilliant performance against Stan Wawrinka in the 2017 French Open final.

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It's also his 17th career major title.

Nadal has now won 17 Grand Slam titles - three lesser than great rival Roger Federer - and matched the all-time record of most titles won at the same Grand Slam event set by Margaret Court at the Australian Open during the 1960s and 70s.

Ruthless Nadal proved far too good for Kevin Anderson as he claimed a 16th Grand Slam title at the US Open.

Federer was on the receiving end of another major defeat as Nadal landed his first Wimbledon title - 9-7 in the fifth set and in near-darkness.

Thiem defeated Nadal in Rome a year ago and was also victorious in the duo's latest match at the Madrid Open in May. Became the first man to win five successive French Open titles in 2014. After Roland Garros, Nadal's win-loss record on clay stands at 415-36. The Spaniard also became the first man in the Open Era to win at least 400 matches on both clay and hard courts.

Thiem had spoken prior to play about knowing how to beat the former Wimbledon champion, yet he was never able to show his best in Paris on Sunday.

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