Dirty dozen: Nadal beats Thiem for 12th French Open title | Inquirer Sports

Dirty dozen: Nadal beats Thiem for 12th French Open title

/ 12:46 AM June 10, 2019
Rafael Nadal 2019 French Open

Spain’s Rafael Nadal clenches his fist after scoring a point against Austria’s Dominic Thiem during the men’s final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Sunday, June 9, 2019. AP

PARIS — For a few, fleeting moments Sunday, Rafael Nadal found his French Open supremacy seemingly threatened by Dominic Thiem, a younger, talented opponent challenging him in the final for the second consecutive year.

A poor game from Nadal allowed Thiem to break him and even things at a set apiece. That development brought fans to their feet in Court Philippe Chatrier, roaring and clapping and, above all, wondering: Was this, now, a real contest? Could Thiem push Nadal more? Could he make this surge last? Would Nadal falter?

ADVERTISEMENT

That the questions were raised at all was significant. The answers, perhaps not surprisingly, arrived swiftly. Nadal reasserted himself, as he usually does at Roland Garros, by grabbing 16 of the next 17 points and 12 of the remaining 14 games, pulling away to beat Thiem 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 for his record-extending 12th championship at the French Open.

“I gave everything I had,” Thiem said. “It’s amazing: 12 times here. It’s unreal.”

FEATURED STORIES

No one in tennis ever has won any major tournament that many times. Then again, no one ever has been as suited for success on any of the sport’s surfaces as this 33-year-old Spaniard is on red clay: Nadal is 93-2 for his career at Roland Garros, winning four in a row from 2005-08, five in a row from 2010-14, and now three in a row.

Looking at the bigger picture, Nadal is now up to 18 Grand Slam trophies, moving within two of Roger Federer’s men’s record of 20.

Thiem, a 25-year-old Austrian who was seeded No. 4 and upset No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semifinals, was eyeing his first major title in this rematch of the 2018 final in Paris. But again, he couldn’t solve Nadal.

“First thing that I want to say is congrats to Dominic. I feel sorry, because he deserves it here, too,” Nadal said during the trophy ceremony. “He has an unbelievable intensity.”

This one began on a cloudy afternoon, with the temperature in the low 60s (mid-teens Celsius) and only a slight breeze. In the initial game — interrupted briefly by a baby wailing in the stands, drawing a laugh from other spectators and prompting Nadal to back away from the baseline between serves — three of the five points lasted at least 11 strokes.

And, thereby, a pattern was established: By the end of the 3-hour, 1-minute match, a total of 46 points went 10 strokes or more. Each man claimed half.

Both men would station themselves along the baseline and sprint, scramble, slide, stretch to somehow reach just about each and every ball that came their way, not merely putting a racket on it but responding with a booming reply. It was an impressive display of athleticism, skill and will, with Thiem managing to give just as good as he got, particularly with his ferocious backhand.

ADVERTISEMENT

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: 2019 French Open, Dominic Thiem, final, Grand Slam, Rafael Nadal, Tennis
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Subscribe to our sports news

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.



© Copyright 1997-2022 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.