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

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Victory at Roland Garros on Sunday proved memorable for Rafael Nadal, with the Spaniard securing his 11th success at the French Open, although he's since made clear that he was bothered by hand cramps in the third set which alarmed him due to the humidity.

There is a little advantage Dominic Thiem could take during the French Open final against Rafael Nadal: the weather.

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. "I played a great match against a great player", said Nadal.

Thiem undid all his good work in the next game, netting an easy volley on the first point and gifting Nadal three more unforced errors to hand over the first set.

With Novak Djokovic far from his best and Andy Murray still a question mark after hip surgery, per Kevin Mitchell of the Guardian, the route for the likes of Federer and Nadal is about as clear as they could hope.

Nadal retained the momentum in the second set, breaking his opponent in the second game and holding out to edge closer to yet another title at Roland Garros. However, here past year in the semi-finals, Nadal destroyed Thiem, losing just seven games in a rout, but it is worth mentioning that Thiem triumphed in their last meeting in Madrid last month, in the quarter-finals.

If there were any reason for a bit of intrigue entering Sunday's match, it was this: Thiem is the only person to beat Nadal on red clay over the past two seasons, doing so at Rome in May 2017 and at Madrid last month.

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Nadal won his sixth French Open title by defeating Federer once more in Paris.

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". His emotions were on show as he shed a few tears when the national anthem of Spain was played in his honour for the 11th time, an obvious sign of what this tournament means to him.

Nadal is now the fourth man in the Open Era to win three or more Grand Slams after turning 30, having won his third since turning 30.

But the Austrian freed his shoulders and broke back in the third game with a forehand victor - pumping his fists in the direction of coach Gunter Bresnik.

Whatever the problem, his dominance remained and a love game took him to 4-2 before he eventually sealed victory on a fifth match point when the Austrian fired another backhand long.

But from the moment Nadal broke serve in the 10th game to win the opening set Thiem's belief ebbed away.

But he could not match Nadal's point-by-point consistency and intensity on Sunday. After guzzling water during his visit from the doctor, Nadal was back to playing his unmistakable brand of almost unbeatable clay-court tennis.

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