Nadal beats Thiem to win 11th French Open title

French Open prize money 2018: How much will Rafael Nadal earn?

The win helped him extend his incredible run at Roland Garros to 66 wins and just one defeat over 10 years.

Some wishful anticipation had been made of the fact that, 30 days prior, Thiem had beaten Nadal on the clay of Madrid, but Thiem reminded everyone Friday that the clay of Madrid is not the clay of Paris.

A left hand cramp in the third and final set proved to be no real obstacle for Nadal, the Spaniard showing he was approaching his best form ahead of the grass court season. "I was very scared". "It's impossible to think something like this".

"But if you win a Grand Slam tournament 11 times, one single one, then this is just very exceptional and unbelievable". "I hope soon I get another chance soon, maybe against you".

"It's awesome now, I can't describe my feelings", Nadal told the crowd on Philippe Chatrier Court moments after capturing his 17th Grand Slam trophy with a 6-4 6-3 6-2 victory.

"Rafa, this is one of the most outstanding things an athlete has achieved in any sport", said the seventh seed.

In 2007, he became the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to win a hat-trick of Roland Garros titles.

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The Austrian is never one to hide his frustration, but then the sheer relentlessness of Nadal on clay would wear anyone down.

With a celebrity audience - including actors Hugh Grant and Tim Roth as well as French stars Marion Cotillard and Jean Dujardin - watching, Nadal flew out of the blocks. Became the first man to win five successive French Open titles in 2014.

"And in general. game-wise it was a good game". After Nadal held there for 5-4, Thiem basically handed over the next game - and the set - by making four mistakes in a row.

Nadal had come into the year's second Grand Slam high on confidence, after wins in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome.

Thiem decided early on that he was not going to die wondering, attacking aggressively from behind the baseline, leading to a plethora of unforced errors.

Thiem courageously saved three break points to start the third, yet dropped serve in his next service game. 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 was his most one-sided final win since allowing Federer just four games in the 2008 final.

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.

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