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Nadal sweeps to 12th French Open, 18th Grand Slam title

By Prajwal Hegde on 10/06/2019

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• Rafael Nadal
• Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal gave ownership a new meaning at the French Open on Sunday. The Spaniard's address reads: No.12, Roland Garros, Boulevard d'Auteuil, Paris.

And that fortress of a Grand Slam record will take some scaling. No player or athlete has taken possession of a patch of land in quite the fashion Nadal has his beloved terre battue or broken earth on Court Philippe Chatrier. It is his, it is home.

On Sunday, when the sun played hide with the clouds, the 33-year-old ripped apart the challenge of Austrian brave heart Thiem to claim a record 12thRoland Garros crown from 12 finals.

Nadal, mixing his play, slice and spin, angles and power with great success, ripped 38 winners in his 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 win.

When Dominic Thiem's return sailed long after a little over three-hours of action, Nadal fell on his back, he lay there spread-eagled, before slowly covering his face with his palm. Later the two men embraced at the net, Thiem coming around to greet the champion in a typically sporting gesture.

Nadal turned to the crowds, he cried and then raised his arms and screamed after what must rank as his most trying lead-up to the clay court championship.

Nadal, who received the Coupe Des Mousquetaires from Aussie legend Rod Laver, said, “It's unbelievable for me, I can't explain the emotion I feel for winning my 12thtitle here, it's the best tournament in the world.”

He added, “I want to say congrats to Dominic, he has great passion and intensity for the sport. He is one of the great examples we have in our sport for young players. Congratulations and well done, I am sure you will win here.”

Thiem, who won the crowd with his powerful play in the first two sets, said, “Rafa is a great champion, 12 titles here is unreal. I left whatever I had out there. I love this tournament with all my heart, and I love all of you people here, with all my heart. I will try next time again.”

The four-set triumph took Nadal's Grand Slam count to 18 titles, two behind Roger Federer's record of 20, besides a cheque for Euros 2,300,000, while the runner-up Thiem collected Euros 1,180,000. Nadal is the first player in history to win 12 singles titles at any major. His victory over Thiem here in 2018, helped him equal Aussie Margaret Court's record of 11 titles at a major (the Australian Open).

Among the men, Federer has eight Wimbledons, and as imposing as the Swiss' tally of eight is in the grasscourt Slam is, it does look a tad tame against Nadal's haul.

Nadal is the best ever to play Tennis. Federer is good but in my opinion Nadal edges him as the all time best.

The match got off to ferocious start. Thiem, on court for the fourth successive day, returned Nadal's range with blistering power. After 45-minutes of play the match was back on serve at 4-3. At that point, Thiem's level dropped a notch and Nadal broke, wrapping up the set 10 minutes later.

The titanic tussle then extended into the second set, the 25-year-old Austrian broke Nadal in the 12thgame to level set scores. When the defending champion sent a backhand long on set point it was met by a roar from Thiem and the full house, which was egging the gladiators to go the distance.

Nadal had other ideas, he returned from the toilet break in fresh gear and armed with a new resolve. Thiem won his first point in the third set after Nadal had won 11, and one exchange later the Spaniard was up 3-0.

Nadal had clearly upped his level and Thiem, feeling the effect of the last three days, was running on reserve. The 25-year-old won two games in the last two sets before the Spaniard wrapped up the match. (Agency Report/TNN)


Source News Express

Posted 10/06/2019 05:12:02 AM





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