Rafa collects the La Coupe des Mousquetaires (for the 11th time) from former champion Ken Rosewall. Good to see the champ hugging and kissing the trophy as if he’s getting it for the first time. He’s not repeating cliches when he says he’s as driven and as motivated to play the game as he was when he first came here. His body has borne quite a few injuries. But Nadal’s risen above all that. And, at 32, he’s still an unstoppable force on clay. Vamos, Rafa!
Rafael Nadal: It was the best match tournament of me. It was important because Dominic is a very aggressive player. I had a tough moment in the third set when I got cramp in my hand. I was very scared. But that is sport. It is very humid and I was against a tough player who pushes you to the end.
17th Grand Slam for Rafa. Just three behind Roger Federer. But no one – man or woman – has won 11 titles in one Slam. His dominance in clay has not been matched (perhaps won’t be matched) by anyone else on any other surface. He also crosses the USD 100 million mark in prize money earnings with this win.
THERE IT IS! 11TH FRENCH OPEN CROWN! Thiem saves four championship points. But on the fifth, he falters: hits a backhand long. NADAL WINS 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.
Third set: Nadal 5-2 Thiem (service: Thiem): BREAK! Worried, Rafa fans? Do not, anymore. Your man is doing absolutely fine. Even if an earthquake cracks his side of the court, the fate of this match can’t be changed it looks like. He’s just broken Thiem to serve for the championship.
Third set: Nadal 4-2 Thiem (service: Nadal): The end is nearer for Thiem. Two monstrous forehands takes Nadal to 30-0. Then, Thiem makes another error. And with Nadal at the net in the next point, Thiem has a chance to pass but nets it. Nadal is just two games away.
Third set: Nadal 3-2 Thiem (service: Thiem): Thiem holds comfortably at 40-30. But Nadal, from here, just needs to hold his serve to win the Championship.
Third set: Nadal 3-1 Thiem (service: Thiem): The injury concerns doesn’t seem to effect on the game though. The forehands are viciously spinning and goes deep into Thiem’s court. He holds at 40-30 and is three games away from a 11th title at French Open.
He’s back but seems like he’s not fully okay. Still holding his left hand.
Looks like there’s an injury concern. The medics are examining Nadal’s left hand. He’s taken the sweat bands off.
Third set: Nadal 2-1 Thiem (service: Thiem): BREAK! Nadal hammers a forehand to earn a break point. Thiem gets to deuce with an ace. But Nadal keeps pushing him and Thiem grants the break with a slice that goes too wide.
Third set: Nadal 1-1 Thiem (service: Nadal): Nadal races through to hold his serve at 1-1.
Third set: Nadal 0-1 Thiem (service: Thiem): Threat. But Thiem evades them. Three break points he saves before holding his serve in the third set. So, it’s been a big deal in this match if Thiem can hold his own serve.
Second set: Nadal 6-2 Thiem (service: Nadal): TWO SETS TO LOVE, RAFA! The set ends with Thiem hitting a backhand well wide. He has hit 14 winners to Nadal’s 6 but also made 12 unforced errors to Nadal’s 7.
Second set: Nadal 5-2 Thiem (service: Thiem): Hits one out to trail 0-15 but does well to win the game at 40-30. But needs to break Rafa’s serve to stay in the set.
Second set: Nadal 5-2 Thiem (service: Nadal): Rafa begins this game with an unbelievable rally. When Thiem hit a forehand to Nadal’s right hand corner, the world No 1 seemed like he’d go for a backhand but magically takes a few extra steps and smashes a forehand that Thiem hardly anticipated. But Thiem did well later to earn a break point. But Nadal’s defence is watertight and he holds to go 5-2 up.
Second set: Nadal 4-2 Thiem (service: Thiem): At last, a comfortable hold at 40-0 for Thiem. Holding a serve has never looked tougher perhaps for Thiem.
Second set: Nadal 4-1 Thiem (service: Nadal): Glimmer of hope for Thiem as he goes 30-0 up but Rafa plays brilliantly well (aided by Thiem’s unforced error) to go 40-30. Thiem forces a deuce. But he makes another unforced error and the 10-time champ goes 4-1 up in the second set.
Second set: Nadal 3-1 Thiem (service: Thiem): An ace, another good serve, a down the line forehand winner and an error from Rafa fetches a hold at 40-0 for Thiem. Sigh of relief.
Second set: Nadal 3-0 Thiem (service: Nadal): Relentless. Thiem’s frustration is understandable. He has to fight tooth and nail, run here and there, come up with brilliant shots, save break points to just hold. Then, the next game, Nadal would easily win at 40-15. This set, he hasn’t won a game so far. It’s looking tougher and tougher for Thiem here.
Second set: Nadal 2-0 Thiem (service: Thiem): Goes to 0-30 and gets away with a point. Then, Nadal pummels a backhand that Thiem can hardly get the racquet to. The ball soars and Rafa smashes it to get a break point. Thiem plays a brilliant rally to save it. But Nadal fetches another one. Thiem saves again. He then serves an ace. But a double fault makes it 40-40 again. More unforced errors from the first-time finalist here gifts an early break to Nadal.
Second set: Nadal 1-0 Thiem (service: Nadal): Three unforced errors in the first game of the second set. Two from Rafa’s racquet. But he still manages to win the game.
First set: Nadal 6-4 Thiem (service: Thiem): RAFA BREAKS AGAIN TO GO ONE SET UP! Thiem nets an easy backhand slices and almost smashes the racquet. He makes another unforced error whilst attempting down-the-line forehand. Thiem nets again to make it 0-40. He hits one out to lose the set. Thiem plays a bad game after doing so well to get back into the set. Advantage Nadal. He’s a set up in his 11th Roland Garros final.
First set: Nadal 5-4 Thiem (service: Nadal): Yet another comfortable hold for Rafa after being 15-15. He has to break Thiem’s serve again to pocket the set. The first-time Slam finalist wil be under pressure.
First set: Nadal 4-4 Thiem (service: Thiem): A comfortable hold for Thiem after a while. Hammers a down the line forehand to get the game at 40-0.
First set: Nadal 4-3 Thiem (service: Nadal): The break in the third game apart, Nadal’s serve has never been under threat. He holds comfortably to go 4-3 up.
First set: Nadal 3-3 Thiem (service: Thiem): Whew! That was a testing game for Thiem. Once again, the game went to deuce and Thiem was finding it tough to strike the ball with power and accuracy. The first serves not going in has also bothered Thiem so far. The second serves are being devoured by the 10-time champ. There was, however, a delightful drop shot that forced Nadal to the net. Then, when Nadal missed a backhand return, Thiem sighed relief.
First set: Nadal 3-2 Thiem (service: Nadal): At 15-15, Nadal played a superb lob that left Thiem stranded. If holding a serve is like a steep trek for Thiem, for his opponent, it’s like walking his dog in a park. Nadal does it easily. Thiem looks a little frustrated.
First set: Nadal 2-2 Thiem (service: Thiem): Nadal is receiving the serves very close to the gallery. Second double fault of the set for Thiem. He looks a little nervous. A few unforced errors as well. Not sure if he’s been able to execute his plans so far. But three deuces later, Thiem holds his serve.
First set: Thiem breaks back, to make it 2-1
Well, that’s more like it from the Austrian. Nadal’s serve – which has been a weakness over the past week – lets him down again as he’s unable to consolidate the break. Thiem, for his part, goes for more depth on his shots, misses one break point opportunity, converts the second and punches his fist in the air. Back on serve.
First set: Nadal takes a 2-0 lead
Rafa starts with a love hold. Easy does it! And then Thiem misses an easy winner serving at 15-30, leading top two break points – Nadal doesn’t need a second invitation. The Austrian broken already. Talk about the perfect start!
First set: Nadal 0-0 Thiem (service: Nadal):
Thiem receives a generous round of applause and a huge cheer for Rafa. We are all set to go.
Thiem has won the coin toss and he will receive service from Nadal.
HEAD TO HEAD
Overall: Nadal - 6, Thiem - 3.
All their nine meetings have been on clay. And, Thiem is among the three players (along with Novak Djokovic and Gaston Gaudio) to have beaten Nadal more than twice on clay.
06:05 pm: For Dominic Thiem, this is his first Grand Slam final. For Rafael Nadal, well, this is not his first time at the French Open. He’s been there, done that.
06:00 pm: Hello all and welcome to The Field’s live blog of the men’s singles final at the 2018 French Open. Even if you were living under a rock for the past two weeks, you’d be right if you guessed one of the players in the final is Rafa Nadal. Dominic Thiem, the only man who seems to have an idea of defeating Nadal on his favourite surface, stands between the Spaniard and his quest for the 11th title.