Nadal wins 12th French Open and 18th Grand Slam title

Nadal wins 12th French Open and 18th Grand Slam title

Rafael Nadal swept to an historic 12th Roland Garros title and 18th Grand Slam crown on Sunday with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 victory over Austria's Dominic Thiem.

The 33-year-old Spaniard becomes the first player, man orwoman, to win the same Slam 12 times after seeing off a brave challenge from aweary Thiem in a repeat of the 2018 final.

Nadal is now just two behind Roger Federer's all-time recordof 20 majors and three ahead of Novak Djokovic who was knocked out by Thiem inthe semi-finals.

The world number two also took his Paris record to anastonishing 93 wins and just two losses having previously won the title in2005-2008, 2010-2014, 2017 and 2018.

Sunday's triumph confirmed the 'Big Three' stranglehold onthe Grand Slams having shared the last 10 between them.

It also gave Nadal an 82nd career title and 950th match win.

In a 53-minute first set of brutal hitting and rawphysicality, it was Thiem who broke first for a 3-2 lead.

But the 25-year-old's joy was short-lived as Nadal retrievedthe break in the sixth game before racing away with the next three games topocket the opener.

Thiem, who had beaten his opponent four times on clay in hiscareer, failed to claim a single point off Nadal's first five service games ofthe second set.

However, the dogged Austrian pushed and pushed, forced Nadalinto three rushed groundstrokes and, from nowhere, broke to take the secondset.

It was the first set he had managed to take off Nadal atRoland Garros after three previous defeats.

Nadal was riled by the insult.

He swept the first 10 points of the third set, carving out adouble break for 3-0 before sweeping to a third break for the set.

Thiem, bidding to become just Austria's second Grand Slamchampion after Thomas Muster won in Paris in 1995, had played four successivedays to reach Sunday's final and the toll was slowly telling.

He wasted break points in the first and third games of thefourth set and Nadal pounced to stretch to 3-0.That was soon 5-1 and the relentless barragecontinued with Nadal taking the title on a second match point when Thiem fireda return long.

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