Rolland Garros Final: Nadal vs Thiem

Rafael Nadal reaches 11th French Open final will face Dominic Thiem

In full control of the French Open final, a rather familiar position for him, Rafael Nadal suddenly was anxious.

"I lost a lot of opportunities with injuries and I know the years are going quick".

"But for me, at every tournament I believe that there are chances, limited chances in your career. I know he's a great player". "So there is not 10 more chances to keep playing here".

It rarely is for Nadal at a place he has lorded over the way no other man ever has at any Grand Slam tournament.

Rafael Nadal roared to French Open title number 11 with a straight-sets demolition of Dominic Thiem.

"The only way to beat Rafa on clay is to take risks... to over-achieve you have to over-play and risk more than you feel comfortable doing", Wilander said.

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

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- "He is fresh, healthy".

There have, however, appeared to be one or two chinks in Nadal's armour at Roland Garros this year.

It was the first time in three years that Nadal had dropped a set in Paris.

"Maybe the experience helped a little bit but the big key was the second set tiebreak because it was very close and I saved I think three set points", said Thiem.

He is the only man to beat the world number one on clay in the last two years - in Madrid this spring and in Rome last year.

Thiem was on the couch, watching on TV, in 2005, when Nadal earned his first Grand Slam trophy in Paris at age 19. If that gave him hope ahead of their fourth meeting of 2017 in the French Open semifinals, it was quickly dispelled in a 3-6 4-6 0-6 loss. And as del Potro found in the semifinals, it often takes two or three shots that would have been winners to pierce Nadal's defence.

"I told him he needed to hit the ball very high and try to come inside the court".

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"He likes the conditions more here than in Madrid, for sure". He pounded huge serves that topped 135 miles per hour (220 kph) - about 25 miles per hour (40 kph) better than Nadal's fastest - and translated into seven aces but also had five double-faults. "I have a plan".

Too good for almost everyone, nearly every time, on clay.

Thiem also defeated his rival in Buenos Aires in 2016, joining Novak Djokovic and Gaston Gaudio as the only men to have beaten Nadal three times on clay.

Nadal, a 16-time Grand Slam champion, claimed his 85th win here against just two losses after weathering a big-hitting opening from 2009 US Open victor Del Potro to win 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.

"I was privileged on this one because I'm an athlete".

Only two players have managed to beat Nadal at the French Open since he first bounded into Roland Garros in 2005 armed with a bulging left bicep, pirate trousers and a pulverising brand of claycourt tennis the like of which had not been seen before. Midway through the opening set, Nadal's aqua T-shirt was so soaked with sweat it stuck to him. When he first halted play, Nadal removed that tape, which he said let his circulation improve.

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