There it is – Nadal reigns supreme yet again. That is number 11. He has his name inscribed in the history books, but we already knew that. Didn’t we? He loves the French air. Absolutely dismantled the Austrian, who had no answer.
Rafael Nadal turns on the style. He is the ultimate “king of clay”.
It was all Nadal in the first two games of the opening set as he came out all guns blazing. He tried to put Thiem under pressure and was aggressive in his approach. After taking an early 2-0 lead, Nadal was pegged back by Thiem, though. Not once, not twice but thrice. It was 2-1, after he broke Nadal’s serve, and then served well to level it at 2-2. He held on to the next serve well and evened the scores at 3-3, followed by a serve to make it 4-4. But after it was levelled at 4-4, Nadal showed his class and rolled back the years with finesse and elegance as he made it 5-4 and then broke Thiem’s serve to take the first set 6-4. First set – Nadal (6-4)
After winning the first set 6-4, Nadal served and took the first game of second set, leaving Thiem look glum. From 1-0, he followed it up by breaking the Austrian’s serve and taking the second game, to make it 2-0. Nadal wasn’t done as has been the case over decades — he doesn’t give his opponent a breather. In a whisker, he held his serve and took a 3-0 lead. It was pure class from the ‘king of clay’.
Thiem though held his serve very well and broke Nadal’s momentum to make it 3-1. But it did not deter Nadal as he used his forehand to good effect to force Thiem deep and it proved in the Austrian’s undoing as Nadal took a 4-1 lead. Thiem did however bring one of his own nonchalant flicks of the wrists and a backhand down the line to the fore to make it 4-2.
Nadal was looking to wrap up the second set real quick and again held his serve brilliantly to make it 5-2. But the story repeated itself as Thiem came with some nonchalant serves to make Nadal wait a little longer for the second set. He made it 5-3.
It was Nadal who was serving to take the second straight set and he did just that, breaking Thiem’s short-lived resistance to take the set 6-3. Nadal is oozing confidence and he will want to wrap it up in the third set. Second set – Nadal 6-3
Thiem was serving to take an early lead in the set and did it with aplomb. He made some quick serves and took the game. 1-0 to the Austrian. Nadal is back it again. Making Thiem dig deep and he’s literally toying with him. Absolutely brilliant. He levels it up. That was quick. 1-1.
Thiem to serve for the lead. He starts well and breaks Nadal in the first game. The Austrian looks pumped, but don’t know for how long. Nadal won’t stay quiet. There it is. A long game that had plenty of deuces, but Nadal eventually comes out on tops and rahe the lead. 2-1.
Nadal to serve. Thiem hasn’t been able to break Nadal’s serve. The Spaniard takes a 30-0 lead, but he looks in some discomfort. There is a slight delay. Here we go again. It hasn’t dampened the mood as Rafa takes a 3-1 lead. Thiem has absolutely no answers, no one really has. Nadal is different level on clay.
Austrian to serve. That was real quick. Thiem holds his own and makes it 3-2. He is still fighting, the least he can do.
Nadal to serve. Wow! The 10-time champion is on fire. Two precisive shots to go 30-0 up, then another duo of perfect games to take a 4-2 lead. 11th title incoming! Watch this space.
Thiem looks stunned. He is facing an onslaught here. Can he break Nadal’s dominance? It isn’t going Austrian’s way today. Nadal breaks his serve in a perfect game for the ‘French Open king’. He takes a 5-2 lead and will be serving for the title.
What a display this has been from Nadal. Simply outstanding!
Here we go.
Takes the first game without dropping a sweat. He is giving the young Austrian a lesson. it’s 30-0. A perfect ace to make it 40-0. Championship point.
Not so soon. It goes long. 40-15. Thiem still in it as he saves another point. 40-30. NO! It has come to deuce. Nadal wins a long rally. Is this the moment? Not yet. Back to 40-40. Advantage Nadal. This is taking long. He has done it. Wow! Rafa! Wow!