Thiem hails 'awesome' King of Clay after French Open defeat

Thiem hails 'awesome' King of Clay after French Open defeat

The Spaniard now inches closer to Roger Federer's all-time record of 20 Grand Slam titles.

Nadal wept after being handed the trophy by Australian legend Ken Rosewall - who won the inaugural French Open in 1968.

Since they exchanged breaks of serve in the second and third games, both have held serve, with Nadal now ahead 5-4, with Thiem serving next.

The win helped him extend his incredible run at Roland Garros to 66 wins and just one defeat over 10 years.

Play has begun in the men's final of the French Open, with Rafael Nadal comfortably holding serve to love in the first game.

"Tough moment in the third set when I got a little bit cramped on the hand", Nadal said. I played my best match of the tournament, it's unbelievable and I'm very happy'.

"To win 11 times here, it's fantastic and not something I ever dreamed of".

11 is the number of times he has won in French Open final.

Rafael Nadal tears up after lifting his 11th French Open title.

The 24-year-old has displayed ever-increasing promise but while Thiem has more ATP Tour wins on clay than any other player and has previous of ousting Nadal on his favoured red dirt, the 16-time Grand Slam champion is the overwhelming favourite to maintain his French Open dominance.

Rafael Nadal
GETTYSerial winner Rafael Nadal is chasing a 17th Grand Slam title

With a celebrity audience - including actors Hugh Grant and Tim Roth as well as French stars Marion Cotillard and Jean Dujardin - watching, Nadal flew out of the blocks.

Nadal now leads 2-0 in the second set, having won the first set 6-4.

"And in general. game-wise it was a good game".

Thiem scrapped hard to save four break points but Nadal is relentless, keeping up the pressure until the seventh seed sends a backhand long. But from 4-all in the opening set, Nadal grabbed five games in a row and was in charge.

Thiem has been unable to find a rhythm, making 30 unforced errors to Nadal's 19 so far.

The Austrian is one of just three players to down Nadal on clay at least three times. Early in the match it looked as though Thiem could make it a long day for the king of France.

Nadal broke Argentinian Guillermo Vilas's 29-year record of 53 consecutive clay-court match victories by winning his first-round match at the 2006 French Open.

Bizarrely, Nadal then halted playing in the fourth game complaining of pain in his left hand and stretching his middle finger.

The Spaniard races into a 30-0 lead on his own serve before calling for the trainer mid-game, saying he can not hold his racket.

It was a match told in break points.

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