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Rafael Nadal beats Dominic Thiem to win record 11th Roland Garros title

In an interview yesterday, Nadal said, he will have to "play his best" to beat Dominic Thiem in Sunday's French Open final and secure an 11th Roland Garros title.

There was late anxiety for Nadal as the predicted thunderstorms loomed and he needed his left forearm massaged after beginning to suffer from cramp.

No stranger to rewriting the record books along with his friendly rival, Roger Federer, here is another feat for the Spaniard: He joined Margaret Court in becoming the only tennis players in history to win the same grand slam 11 times.

The victory also allowed the 32-year-old Nadal to hold onto the No. 1 ranking, ahead of Federer.

Thiem had given it his all but never got his nose in front as Nadal continued his unbeaten record in the final in Paris.

Rafael Nadal duly collected his 11th French Open title here on Sunday with a brutal, brilliant, resilient and ruthless performance, just as he had done 10 times before.

Taking on Nadal at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament is a whole other challenge.

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. After Nadal held there for 5-4, Thiem basically handed over the next game - and the set - by making four mistakes in a row.

In 2007, he became the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to win a hat-trick of Roland Garros titles.

Nadal enjoyed a fast start to the encounter, winning the opening six points on his way to going 2-0 up in the first set.

The 24-year-old is widely expected to be Nadal's heir on clay and Rusedski believes he must change his game if he is to fulfil his destiny.

Nadal came in looking slightly more vulnerable than he did previous year, in which he lost only 35 games in claiming the title. That led to 34 winners (eight more than Nadal), but also 42 unforced errors (18 more than Nadal).

But Rusedski thinks Thiem should play every match on the front foot to get accustomed to it for the big matches. A volley into the net. A forehand long. Just like that, Nadal was off on a five-game run that put him up 3-0 in the second set. Midway through the opening set, Nadal's aqua T-shirt was so soaked with sweat it stuck to him, so he changed into a fresh one at a changeover, drawing catcalls from spectators. Any hopes of an upset all but disappeared along with the ragged Thiem forehand which sailed way beyond the baseline.

The number of Masters 1000 titles won by Nadal, the most by a single player since the series began in 1990.

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