Rafael Nadal: Dominic Thiem slammed for ‘giving up’ during French Open final

Nadal Rain break was very good for

Nadal is now the first player in the Open Era, male or female, to win 11 titles at three different tournaments, having also completed La Undécima at Monte Carlo and Barcelona in April this year. That was part of a five-game run that sent Nadal on his way. For the past two years, Thiem has been threatening to encroach on Nadal's territory. In the other semi-final, Marco Cecchinato's odd run in the last two weeks was ended by Dominic Thiem, also in straight sets, although the first two sets were somewhat closer than anything Del Potro could muster. His 11th title French Open deepened a Parisian habit both routine by now and unimaginable by anyone. The trainer massaged Nadal's forearms twice but it was still not good enough to halt the Spaniard and the job was complete when Thiem's backhand sailed long.

Thiem was considered the stiffest test for Nadal at the French Open and understandably so.

Since Nadal won his first major at Roland Garros in 2005, the "Big Four" have claimed 48 of the past 53 Grand Slam titles.

After an early swap of service breaks in Paris, it was 4-all in the opening set.

In Nadal's case, that way now leads on to the grass, where his last appearance in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon came seven years ago.

So what happens when you pair these two greats of the game together in a doubles match?

Just 50 of the limited edition RM27-03s worn by Rafael Nadal were produced by luxury Swiss watch brand Richard Mille. "I gave everything I had, and I'm the loser of today".

Nadal has not put a time limit on how much longer he intends to keep playing, no doubt wary of the ravages of his injury-hit career which have forced him to sit out nine Slams to rest either his knees or wrists. That's two losses in 14 years.

Thiem didn't think that loose game to end the first set was as crucial as it might seemed to everyone else. Like Nadal so often is.

Thiem found some life and threatened with a break point in the seventh game, but Nadal broke his pace with a drop shot and finished it off with a passing shot, holding for 5-2.

The king of clay has his first major of 2018 and will be eager to add a second when the Grand Slam calendar turns to Wimbledon in July, although it's been eight years since he last made the final at SW19.

Nadal's welling eyes during the trophy ceremony provided a moment of vulnerability after a match that had very few of them, apart from a freaky interlude in the third set when Nadal abruptly stopped mid-service game with a disconcerted expression and left the baseline to request medical attention for a cramping left hand.

As he showed in Monday's (NZT) final, Nadal remains indestructible, even when cramp turns his racket hand into an agonising claw.

The only hiccup was Thiem, his challenge on last legs, fighting off the first four championship points on Nadal's serve in the eighth game. Thiem making unforced errors. And the sun is far from setting on his clay empire.

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