Friday, 14 December, 2018

Marion Bartoli was seriously impressed by Rafa Nadal during French Open final

Jun 10 2018 Paris France Rafael Nadal poses with the trophy after his men's singles final against Dominic Thiem on day 15 Jun 10 2018 Paris France Rafael Nadal poses with the trophy after his men's singles final against Dominic Thiem on day 15
Frederick Owens | 12 June, 2018, 22:28

A few hours earlier, as Nadal and Thiem warmed up, the booming voice of the announcer at Court Philippe Chatrier detailed the bona fides of both. In 2009, he was upset by big-hitting Robin Soderling in the fourth round. Puerta was to later fail a drugs test and handed an eight-year ban, eventually reduced to two years.

The trainer was called at 30-0 and his intervention appeared to alleviate Nadal's discomfort, who regained his composure, held his serve and then managed to break again in the sixth game before holding out for his 17th Grand Slam title.

Nadal now has a 100-point lead over Federer in the rankings with 8,770 points following his French Open win.

"To win 11 times here - it's fantastic and not something I ever dreamed of".

Last year's champion in Paris, Jelena Ostapenko, dropped from No 5 to No 12 with a first-round exit this time.

Won his second Grand Slam of 2017 at Flushing Meadows after a 10th French Open title in June. This continues to be the toughest ask in tennis to try and beat Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros. He is also assured of keeping his number one ranking for good measure.

Matched Borg's record of six French Open titles with his 2011 victory and overtook the Swede in 2012. When a return went long on a fifth match point, Nadal raised his arms in joy.

It was a match told in break points.

His lead was reminiscent of their semifinal at the French Open a year ago, when Nadal also held the early advantage.

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Juan Martin del Potro jumped two spots to No 4 by reaching his first French Open semifinal in nine years, and Thiem rose one place to No 7 by reaching his first Grand Slam final. The Austrian entered the match with 3 previous wins on clay over Nadal, and while still a heavy underdog, was regarded as the best available contender.

That's three behind Federer who is more than four years older. When Rafael Nadal broke down in tears on the Roland Garros podium on Sunday as 15,000 people, plus a smattering of Hollywood heavyweights, stood and honoured his staggering 11th French Open triumph, it was enough to make his desperate rivals weep.

Throw in three titles at the US Open, two at Wimbledon and one at the Australian Open, and Nadal is up to 17 majors, second among men only to Roger Federer's 20.

But Thiem, unusually standing up to Nadal's first serve, forced two break points in the next game and converted the second with a flashing forehand into the right corner.

"It's really incredible", said the Spaniard.

"I am sure, " Nadal said after the match, "you will win here in the next couple of years".

"I am enjoying that moment and that doesn't mean that I will not keep fighting for give me more chances in the future, in the next tournaments, Grand Slams, Masters 1000, 500, 250s".

Wawrinka, who has had to deal with a double knee surgery, has been playing intermittently in the 2018 season as he aims to get back into top gear.

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