Rafael Nadal defeats Dominic Thiem, wins his 11th French Open title

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That's three behind Federer who is more than four years older.

Rafael Nadal described his performance at the French Open previous year, when he didn't surrender a set, as "perfect".

Rafael Nadal duly collected his 11th French Open title here on Sunday with a brutal, brilliant, resilient and ruthless performance, just as he had done 10 times before.

Regained the title the following year, beating Soderling in the final. If possible, it burns even brighter on the red dirt now.

The victory made Nadal humble who expressed that he had no desire to become locked into an arms race with Roger Federer to surpass his great rival's 20 Grand Slam titles. He is, after all, the only player to beat Nadal on red clay each of the past two seasons.

Thiem says he is "confident" his first appearance in a Grand Slam final will not be his last. He pounded huge serves, topping 135 miles per hour (220 kph) about 25 miles per hour (40 kph) more than Nadal's fastest - and that translated into seven aces, but also five double-faults.

"It's really incredible", said the Spaniard.

Nadal is one of the best frontrunners around and indeed there was no choke on the way.

The match had begun on a bright note. Then he struggled to find the court on his opening service game, and handed the Spaniard an easy break.

Roger Federer celebrates after beating Mischa Zverev during the Stuttgart Open on Wednesday
Roger Federer celebrates after beating Mischa Zverev during the Stuttgart Open on Wednesday

Nadal congratulates Federer on his five-set Australian Open men's final win on January 29, 2017.

After an intense clay court season in which he also collected an 11th Monte Carlo and Barcelona crown and suffered only one defeat in 27 matches, Nadal will take time out for fishing in his native Mallorca before the grass court swing.

Nadal, however, turned the screw in the 10th game and Thiem seemed to grow nervous, sending a forehand long to hand his opponent the set.

As he walked back to his chair, he was overheard saying, "Curse that volley".

How do you solve a problem like Nadal? "I'll let you know, we'll see". "In general, it was - game wise - a good game". The Philippe Chatrier is his court, he decides the pace and the tempo. He now does some part of his on-court interviews in French and has developed a flat forehand inside-out victor to sharpen the attacking edge further. He wound up with 42 unforced errors to Nadal's 24. The Austrian's single-handed backhand, like those of Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka before him, cracked under the strain.

Rafael Nadal won an 11th French Open title on Sunday. Like Nadal so often is.

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.

"I kind of expected Rafa to win the French Open, that's not taking anything away from him, but he was again that good on clay leading into the French Open that I thought he was going to win", he told a news conference.

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