French Open 2018: Rafael Nadal not 'crazy' about catching Roger Federer

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Rafael Nadal overcame the challenge from Dominic Thiem and cramps to win his 11th French Open title on Sunday.

Rafael Nadal celebrates by biting the trophy after winning the men's final against Dominic Thiem at the French Open, in Paris, France, on June 10, 2018.

Thiem beat Nadal on clay twice, including last month in Madrid that ended Nadal's 21-match winning streak on clay and his streak of 50 straight sets won on his favorite surface.

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.

Nadal, 32, is second behind Federer in the list of all-time Grand Slam titles, three clear of Pete Sampras in third.

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Either Federer or Nadal has captured each of the last six Grand Slam championships.

He said it was because he had started the clay-court season with "some doubts" before going on to win a record-extending 11th title at Roland Garros.

And he increased the tempo further, consigning Thiem to defeat in his first major final when the Austrian sent a return long.

The score may have looked rather routine but there was some drama in the third set when Nadal called for the trainer at 2-1, 30-0.

"If you told seven or eight years ago that I will be here at 32 years old having this trophy with me again, I will tell you that is something nearly impossible, but here we are".

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Federer's 11 are at Wimbledon, and if Nadal beats Thiem on Sunday, he'll keep his flawless French final mark; he's never lost in the ultimate match at this event.

Thiem stayed with Nadal in the early going on a cloudy and steamy afternoon; the temperature was 77 degrees (24 Celsius), the humidity approached 70 per cent. And he took the biggest of big cuts on his groundstrokes, his feet leaving the ground as he threw his whole body into them, as if the very outcome of the match - not any individual point, but the whole shebang - depended on the strength of that one whip of his white racket. Despite the expectation ahead of the final, the weather may prove the only victor on Sunday with heavy rain and thunder storms expected around 1500 (1300GMT) when the final is due to start.

From 4-all, 15-all in the opening set, Thiem faltered. The Spaniard would save just one breakpoint on his way to the business end of the set, where Thiem - serving 5-4 down - reeled off four enforced errors in a row to hand Nadal the set. A volley into the net.

The tears that welled up when Nadal received the Coupe des Mousquetaires from Australian great Ken Rosewall showed just how much he still cares.

Soon, Nadal was finding his spots. Midway through the opening set, Nadal's aqua T-shirt was so soaked with sweat it stuck to him.

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