It's beyond a dream, Nadal says of 11th French Open title

Nadal broke Argentinian Guillermo Vilas's 29-year record of 53 consecutive clay-court match victories by winning his first-round match at the 2006 French Open.

Nadal said afterwards that he feared the worst when the cramp struck: 'There was a tough moment in the third set, I was very very scared but that's sport.

The victor of the first set had always won this match-up in the past and after saving four break points, Austria's No. 1 eventually crumbled to fall a set and a break down.

Rafael Nadal has consolidated his lead in the French Open final by breaking Dominic Thiem in the Austrian's first service game of the second set.

Nadal won his sixth French Open title by defeating Federer once more in Paris. He positioned himself on the baseline, hitting his returns early to minimise Nadal's reaction time. Nadal nets it, Thiem takes the point 30-all now.

Nadal endured a nervy conclusion to the final, however, when he needed treatment in the fourth game of the final set for a finger injury before sealing victory on a fifth match point when Thiem fired a backhand long.

But once a competive first set went the way of the world number one, the plan became damage limitation and Nadal's "undecima" never looked in any doubt.

Another feature was his ridiculously slow play when serving, nearly always over the 25-second limit and sometimes going well into the thirties.

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But Thiem showed resilience in getting two break points on Nadal's serve. He played a great two weeks. Perhaps that was because unlike the 1980 Final, which was played out in glorious sunshine, the 2008 Final ended nearly in the dark, because it lasted for so long (more than five hours), and even by the time of the fourth set tie-break the gloom was gathering. He persists at his punishing physicality and pounding shots even 13 long and grinding years after the wonder from the Spanish island of Mallorca debuted at Roland Garros with sleeveless shirts, clam-digger shorts, shoulder-length hair and MMA muscles, and, two days after his 19th birthday, won his first title and said, "I fight every point, every point, no?"

In contrast, there are eight women now younger than 28 who have been Grand Slam singles finalists.

The 32-year-old Spaniard is also vying for his 17th major trophy, which would move him within three of Roger Federer.

Nadal has been crowned the French Open champion an incredible 11 times, following successes in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2017.

Regained the title the following year, beating Soderling in the final.

There is hope for Thiem though as both of Nadal's two losses on clay in the past two years have come against the Austrian.

The women's doubles final is also Sunday.

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