Rafael Nadal gets emotional after winning 2018 French Open

Beads of sweat run from Spain's Rafael Nadal's face as he prepares to serve against Austria's Dominic Thiem in the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadi

Nadal won a record-extending 11th title at Roland Garros and 17th major overall Sunday when he defeated his spirited challenger, Dominic Thiem, 6-4 6-3 6-2 in Paris. The Austrian won just one of the first nine points as Nadal immediately broke for 2-0.

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.

He also let four match points go at 5-2 but he would not be denied, as Thiem went long with a backhand on the fifth.

The 24-year-old world No. 8 was the only man to beat Nadal on his favorite clay surface this year with a quarter-final victory in Madrid before the French grand slam and also had a previous victory in Rome last season. He played a great two weeks.

An edgy Thiem won only one of the first eight points as Nadal, cheered to the rafters when he walked on court, bristled with intent.

The world No. 1 went up 40-0 during Thiem's first service of the third set.

Rafael Nadal celebrates by kissing the trophy after winning the final against Dominic Thiem at the 2018 French Open June 10, 2018.

Unlike past year - when those first few games realistically settled matters - Thiem bounced back, breaking straight away.

He now has 86 match wins on Paris' famous crushed red brick against just two defeats in 13 years.

Spain's Rafael Nadal reacts as he plays Austria's Dominic Thiem during the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Sunday
Rafael Nadal gets emotional after winning 2018 French Open

There was still fight in Thiem, though, and he had a break point when Nadal served at 4-2 - a game in which the Spaniard was warned for taking too long to serve.

Nadal earned another break early in the third set and looked to be home free to his 11th title from there. It was his best performance of the fortnight, as Nadal confirmed on court, just when he needed it most.

To commemorate Nadal's record-breaking win, Nike is releasing a limited-edition T-shirt that features the number 11 and Nadal's signature logo. So he made the 10-hour drive back to Paris with his 88-year-old grandmother, mother and younger brother in a rental auto, then went out and won in the first round.

Nadal's French Open win means that the Spaniard and Federer have won the last six men's Grand Slam titles despite being in their 30s. "For me every tournament is important and I feel that if I don't treat every tournament with 100 per cent focus I will not be ready for the Grand Slams", explains Halep.

Thiem dug in - especially in the roughly 13-minute sixth game - but he crumbled attempting to stay in the set, making four unforced errors.

Slow starts have plagued Nadal in several of his matches this fortnight, most notably against 11th-seed Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals.

Unfortunately for him, Thiem began the second set the same way he ended the first.

Only Nadal, Pete Sampras and Ken Rosewall have managed the feat of winning Grand Slam titles in their teens, 20s and 30s.

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