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

  • PA Sport
2018 French Open - Day Fifteen

Rafael Nadal saved his best until last as he demolished Dominic Thiem to seal his 11th French Open title.

The 32-year-old continued his extraordinary domination at Roland Garros with a ruthless 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 victory.

Seventh seed Thiem is the only player to have beaten Nadal on clay in the past two years, and he claimed he had a plan to thwart the Spaniard in Paris.

But, once a competitive first set went the way of the world number one, the plan became damage limitation and Nadal’s ‘undecima’ never looked in any doubt.

In fact, the only thing to trouble Nadal unduly was a tightening up of his arm midway through the third set.

“I had to be very aggressive, he’s a very difficult opponent,” said Nadal.

“I had a tough moment in the third set when I had a little bit of cramp. I was a little bit scared. But that is sport. It was very humid and he pushed me to the limit.

“I’m very happy to win the tournament. Dominic is a good friend, but I played my best match today, in the final.”

If Thiem is, as he is widely regarded, the second best clay-court player in the world, then he probably has a few more of these pummellings to look forward to at least until Nadal finally calls it a day.

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Nadal’s incredible record in Paris now reads 86 wins and two defeats. He has won every final he has reached, and in those 11 showpieces he has dropped just six sets.

Nadal is now level with Margaret Court for the record of the most titles at a single Grand Slam, while his total of 17 overall brings him closer to Roger Federer’s 23. He is also assured of keeping his number one ranking for good measure.

When speaking about Nadal after the final, former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli admitted she saw something in the Spaniard she's never seen before.

“I was court side for two sets,” Bartoli told ITV.

2018 French Open - Day Three

“I was extremely fortunate to have one of the best seats in the house.

“The intensity and the look he had in his eyes was something I’ve almost never seen from him. He was so focused, so determined. He knew he had to play his best game.

“You could feel the problem he had with his arm was bothering him a little bit.

“But the intensity he put on throughout this match was just extraordinary.”

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