'Just incredible' as Nadal wins 11th French Open despite late injury scare

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Paris: Rafael Nadal hailed his 11th French Open title as "just incredible" after he demolished Austria's Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 despite a worrying injury scare in the closing stages of Sunday's final.

Nadal joins Australia's Margaret Court as the only player to win 11 titles at the same major.

This historical analysis doesn't lend itself to fancying Thiem's chances of denying Nadal an 11th French Open title this afternoon, and neither did my model pricing either.

Nadal remained implacable in the homestretch, intent on ignoring his temporarily impaired hand, outracing the rainclouds that hovered close and low but didn't erupt, and trying to outrun, outhit and outwit a player who was 11 years old when he won his first title here in 2005.

Sunday's result marks the sixth consecutive Grand Slam won by either Nadal or 20-time major champion Roger Federer.

"It's fantastic, I can't describe my feelings because it's not even a dream to win here 11 times", said an emotional Nadal after the final. Across the other slow-medium clay venues - Monte Carlo, Barcelona and here - Nadal has utterly schooled Thiem. Not much more of a daunting task than doing so against this particular opponent at the French Open, where Nadal is now 11-0 in finals and 86-2 overall.

79 is the number of career titles that Nadal presently holds, which is fourth in the all-time list behind Jimmy Connors (109), Federer (97), and Ivan Lendl (94). "I love the tournament", Thiem told the crowd.

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Thiem is the only man to have beaten Nadal on clay over the past two seasons, including a surprise victory in the Madrid Open quarter-finals last month, but there was no repeat shock on Court Philippe Chatrier as the top seed prevailed 6-4 6-3 6-2.

German footballer Mario Gotze - who is not in Russian Federation with the national team but who scored the winning goal for his team in the final in Brazil four years ago - also paid tribute to Nadal.

Nadal has not lost at Roland Garros when taking the first set and that record did not look like coming under threat as he continually rebuffed Thiem's attempts to make inroads into his serve, taking the second courtesy of an early break.

He also let four match points go at 5-2 but he would not be denied as Thiem went long with a backhand on the fifth.

Dominic Thiem was vying for his first Grand Slam title on Sunday. He played a great two weeks.

Despite matching Nadal forehand for forehand, Thiem was undone in the 10th game when three errors handed Nadal the opening set after 52 minutes on court. After guzzling water during his visit from the doctor, Nadal was back to playing his unmistakable brand of almost unbeatable clay-court tennis.

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.

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