Rafael Nadal extended his own record with a 12th French Open title on Sunday, heating up late in a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 win over fourth-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem in the Paris final.
Nadal, the second seed, improved to 93-2 on the famed clay courts in winning his 18th Grand Slam title overall.
Nadal’s 12th French Open title extends his record for the most by a male player in a Grand Slam. Roger Federer is the next closest, with eight Wimbledon titles.
He also broke a tie with Margaret Court, who won the women’s Australian Open title 11 times.
Nadal is now just two shy of Federer’s record 20 Grand Slam titles and three ahead of Novak Djokovic.
“It is truly incredible. I cannot explain it,” said Nadal.
In a rematch of last year’s final, Nadal improved to 9-4 lifetime against Thiem. The Spanish star also improved to 4-0 against Thiem at the French Open, but dropped a set against the Austrian for the first time at Roland Garros.
“Dominic, you are one of the best examples of the players we have on the tour,” said Nadal afterward. “Thanks for being a great inspiration for me and for small kids around the world. I know how tough it is to lose finals, but that’s the sport.”
Thiem, 25, was seeking his first Grand Slam title. He denied Nadal a 12th title at the Barcelona Open in April, but was unable to duplicate that success at Roland Garros.
“Twelve times. It’s unreal,” said Thiem. “I’ll try again next year for sure. Congrats to (Nadal’s) team, you’re all very nice guys. I like spending time with you on the tour, bravo.”
Thiem was coming off a win over the top-seeded Djokovic that lasted four hours and 25 minutes and stretched into Saturday, while Nadal beat Federer in straight sets in the other semifinal on Friday.
The exhaustion for Thiem became apparent after the second set, as Nadal reeled off the first four games of the third set and 12 of the last 14 as he breezed to the finish.
–Field Level Media