Rafael Nadal wins 11th French Open title

Rafael Nadal bagged a record-extending 11th French Open title on Sunday with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 thrashing of Dominic Thiem even as he faced injury scare late in the final.

Nadal called on the trainer to get his forearms massaged twice in the final set but even that problem failed to improve Thiem's chances of emulating fellow Austrian Thomas Muster's 1995 triumph.

Nadal's career title count, which is now fourth on the all-time list, behind Jimmy Connors (109), Federer (97), and Ivan Lendl (94), and ahead of John McEnroe (77), whose tally he equalled and then surpassed with titles this year in Barcelona and Rome, respectively.

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.

Won the French Open on debut in 2005 and a year later beat Roger Federer in the final.

'He had played a great two weeks, ' Nadal said after his 6-4 6-3 6-2 win.

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

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.

But at 4-5 Thiem's serve let him down badly, handing Nadal three set points.

It was a match told in break points.

"Yes, and it's going to take probably one or two more years", said Gunter Bresnik, Thiem's coach. After serving a fault, Nadal took the unusual step of heading to the sideline in the middle of a game.

He reeled off the first six points for a 2-0 lead before Thiem settled and repaired the damage for 2-2.

A wild, misguided forehand sealed his fate, one of 18 unforced errors to Nadal's 12 in the set.

"It's awesome, bravo. I saw you win this in 2005 when I was just 11 years old". A volley into the net. In 112 best-of-five-set matches, Nadal has never lost after claiming the first set.

By then, Nadal was finding his spots. Another forehand victor from Nadal found a corner, and Thiem yelled toward his coach. Midway through the opening set, Nadal's aqua T-shirt was so soaked with sweat it stuck to him, so he changed into a fresh one at a changeover, drawing catcalls from spectators. Those conditions might have contributed to the cramping that affected Nadal about two hours into the final, at 2-1 in the third set.

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