For the second straight year on Court Philippe Chatrier Dominic Thiem took aim at Rafael Nadal, the King of Clay and 11-time champion at Roland Garros. Again he failed to steal the crown.
Nadal claimed a remarkable 12th French Open title and kept his perfect record alive when contesting a final at Roland Garros. The final score was 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 in a tick over three hours.
Nadal said this this title was extra special, “Yes, not only this year – last year was a tough year too.” he said.
“I was only able to finish seven tournaments during the whole year. and finished, like, World No.1. Give me a chance to win here last year and in Wimbledon, I was very close. The US Open I had to retire, too. So a lot of issues, and then at the end of the season (issues) with the knee. Then I had to do surgery on my foot.
“And this beginning of the season, the level of tennis has been positive, but again, some issues, no? Like in Indian Wells, like Brisbane, like Acapulco, too….too many issues the last 18 months. So that’s makes these last few weeks very, very special.
“All the things that I went through probably give me that extra passion when I am playing, because I know I will not be here forever. So I just tried to be positive, to be intense, and to be passionate about what I am doing.”
In the final it was Nadal that took the opening set gaining two service breaks to one for Thiem. This came despite the Austrian serving at 81%.
Nadal hit 11 winners to seven in the opening set. He got the key second break of serve in the 8th game.
In the second set Thiem won his first ever set against Nadal when he broke late in the first set. Nadal set up the break point after playing a great drop shot to counter Thiem’s drop shot.
The break was converted when Nadal hit a dipping forehand shot with Thiem at the net. The attempted volley sailed long. Nadal then served out the opener.
After that is was all Nadal. The Spaniard broke three times in the third set and twice in the fourth set to claim the title.
Nadal hit 38 winners to Thiem’s 31, the unforced count was 38 for Thiem and 31 from Nadal.
So after Nadal’s early struggles during the clay season, that’s if you call semfinal losses a struggle, he has again won the title that matter most.