Rafael Nadal was sacred of cramps with 11th French Open in sight

Rafael Nadal vs Dominic Thiem LIVE STREAM How to watch French Open final on TV and online

Nadal has now won 17 Grand Slam titles - three lesser than great rival Roger Federer - and matched the all-time record of most titles won at the same Grand Slam event set by Margaret Court at the Australian Open during the 1960s and 70s.

As he sat down in the French Open lounge on Saturday, Günter Bresnik, Dominic Thiem's coach, was asked about Thiem's upcoming French Open final against Rafael Nadal, the finest clay court tennis player of all time.

The Coupe des Mousquetaires trophy was back in Nadal's arms after his straight-sets victory over David Ferrer in 2013, but the hard yards were achieved in the semi-finals when he defeated Djokovic 6-4 3-6 6-1 6-7 9-7 in a four-hour, 37-minute epic.

Rafael Nadal vs Dominic Thiem LIVE STREAM
GETTY Rafael Nadal vs Dominic Thiem LIVE STREAM Dominic Thiem is chasing his maiden Grand Slam title

On a humid afternoon before a crowd peppered with celebrities from Zinedine Zidane to Hugh Grant he hardly showed signs of weakness, breaking immediately as his opponent got to grips with being in what was his first Grand Slam final.

Federer (9 at Halle, 8 at Basel) and Argentine clay-court legend Guillermo Vilas (8, Buenos Aires) are the male players with the next highest number of titles at a tournament below Grand Slam level.

Thiem wasted a break point in the seventh game as Nadal collected a time violation for taking too long to serve. It's the first time that Thiem has ever reached the final of a major tournament and he's going to have a huge challenge ahead of him.

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That said, Nadal is wary of Thiem's threat.

That was swatted away with Nadal's double-handed backhand, though, and the second set duly went the way of the favourite.

Rafael Nadal continued his record-extending 11th championship at Roland Garros.

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Up a break at 2-1 in the third set, Nadal stopped serving after a fault because he couldn't straighten his left middle finger. So there was mild concern when Nadal called for the trainer midway through a game, requiring treatment on what looked like cramp in his hand.

Thiem put up a good fight in his opening service game of the third set, saving four breakpoints.

-Nadal argument. This French Open was a reminder that Nadal is still playing at peak form, bringing to mind what LeBron James has done 15 years into a remarkable career.

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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. In fact, the Austrian remains the only one to beat Nadal on clay for two years in a row.

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