A look at Rafael Nadal's French Open dominance

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Rafael Nadal won his 11th French Open title on Sunday, beating out Austria's Dominic Thiem and becoming the first man to win 11 titles at any Grand Slam tournament.

"I think it was the first time against him here in Roland Garros where it was a fight", said Thiem, who told Nadal he remembered being 11 years old and watching the Spaniard win his first title in 2005.

Rafael Nadal won his 11th French Open title on Sunday.

For the second year running Federer opted against playing at the French Open to spare his knees, but will be favorite to win Wimbledon next month and re-establish a four Grand Slam gap over Nadal on the list of all-time collectors of major titles.

Thiem was trying to become only the second Austrian grand slam champion after Tomas Muster's 1995 Paris triumph and played his part in the tussle that lasted two hours and 42 minutes, but was unable to sustain the high-octane tennis needed to unnerve Nadal.

After Simona Halep won a maiden grand slam in the women's singles yesterday, what chance does Dominic Thiem have this afternoon of making it a weekend of first-timers? He caused a sensation in Rome previous year by handing the Spaniard the first defeat of his clay season. In those 10 finals, Nadal has dropped just six sets but at no stage in the final on Sunday did it look like the number could rise further.

The ever-elegant Swiss eased his way past Marin Cilic in the final who was battling with a foot injury.

Federer (9 at Halle, 8 at Basel) and Argentine clay-court legend Guillermo Vilas (8, Buenos Aires) are the male players with the next highest number of titles at a tournament below Grand Slam level. That scenario loomed again with Nadal going to 2-0 in the second set on a fifth break point as Thiem fired another backhand wide.

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"Honestly, I never expected that one day I would play the finals here so I am still really happy".

Thiem was considered the stiffest test for Nadal at the French Open and understandably so.

After winning just one point in the first two games, Thiem dragged himself back into the contest, only to throw away the opening set with an erratic 10th game as he was broken to love.

Uncle Toni, no longer his nephew's coach but back in his customary seat on the end of the players' box, two seats down from the current coach, Carlos Moya, summed it up perfectly.

But against Thiem, there was nothing wrong with Nadal's start.

The problem for the 24-year-old was that his serve wasn't co-operating. "I had a tough moment in the third set when I got cramp in my hand", Nadal said.

Sunday's win was Nadal's 17th major trophy, only putting him three behind Roger Federer.

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