Nadal Too Tough For Thiem, Wins 12th French Open Title
by Staff | June 9th, 2019, 4:57 pm
  • 25 Comments

After a second set scare, Rafael Nadal rolled to his 12th French Open title Sunday beating Dominic Thiem 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 in a rematch of their final a year ago at Roland Garros.

“It is truly incredible. I cannot explain it,” Nadal said after holding his 12th Coupe des Mousquetaires.

“I want to say is congratulations to Dominic,” he added. “I feel sorry because he deserves it. I really hope he has chance to win in the future. He has unbelievable passion and intensity for this sport.”

Nadal and Thiem began the match as advertised with both bashing away from deep behind the baseline. As Thiem would drop balls short, Nadal would pounce. As Thiem would hit drop shots, Nadal would also pounce. The would in play just as much as the baseline throughout the match.

The Austrian, though, was having success here and there, and he immediately got back on level after Nadal broke for 3-2. But Rafa, maybe angered by losing the lead, upped his play taking the last four games of a 54 minute first set.

The second set turned into a serving fest as both guys cruised in their service games quickly and efficiently. Nadal held at love no fewer than four times and Thiem nearly matched him. But with a tiebreak looming, Rafa suddenly faced 15-40 down two sets points and Thiem took his first set in 11 tries against the Spaniard at Roland Garros.

Tied 1-apiece, Nadal left the court for a bathroom break. Things got interesting, for a few minutes at least. When he returned, he resumed his serving onslaught while Thiem saw his play drop. In a blink, the Nadal had built a 2-break insurmountable 4-1 lead which he rode to a 2-1 advantage.

Sensing maybe the fight was over, Thiem settled down in the fourth, making Nadal save break chances in his first two games. But Thiem couldn’t save them on his own serve, and once Rafa went up 3-0, it was over. Nadal finished winning 12 of the last 14 games after Thiem got that set.

“The beginning was unbelievable intensity of the match,” said Thiem. “And I dropped a little bit towards the end of the first set. Then I played the way I should play in the second set, very aggressive.

“After those two sets, I dropped a little bit my level. Rafa, who won this tournament 12 times, he stepped on me. Afterwards, it got really tough for me. He played outstanding today, because especially in the first two sets I played very good tennis. What he was performing I think is unbelievable, really.

“There has to be a reason why he’s that successful. I mean, he won 18 Grand Slams, which is a big number, which is only two less than Roger. So definitely he’s one of the greatest of all time. Today, I saw why.”

Thiem did well beating Novak Djokovic but having to play three straight days and then beating Nadal in a best-of-5 was just too big of an ask for the 25-year-old.

“That’s a unique and also brutal thing, I guess, in our sport, in tennis, that I won six amazing matches. I beat yesterday one of the biggest legends of our game. Not even 24 hours later, I have to step on court against another amazing legend of our game, against the best clay court player of all time,” Thiem said. “That also shows how difficult nowadays it is to win a Grand Slam. That’s what I meant yesterday. I was feeling so happy, with such a good win, and today, of course, I lost. I failed to make my biggest dream in my tennis life come true, so I don’t feel that good like yesterday.”

Nadal finished with 38 winners to 31 unforced. Thiem the opposite with 31 winners to 38 unforced. Rafa also won 73% on both first and second serves and was 23/27 at the net. And in the third set, Nadal didn’t lose a single point on serve!

“Being able, at this time in my career, to get another victory is obviously a great satisfaction and a great happiness,” said Nadal after the 3-hour win. “I thank all the people who support me, my family, my team for their great support, which I need, which is necessary for me.

“He had served well. Every time I was in a bad position after he served because, with someone like Dominic, it’s very difficult to return. He hits very hard. I managed to hit the first ball from a good position. But with him, it’s very difficult to return when he’s in attacking position.

“So I analyzed things, and I felt that I had to solve this particular problem. For the rest, I was playing well. But the important thing seemed to be not to give him the advantage when he was serving well and I had problems returning.”

The King of Clay also wins his 18th Grand Slam which puts him just two behind Roger Federer who has to be getting worried.

“I never tried to think about, well, am I gonna catch Roger or not,” Nadal said. “Being honest, I am not very worried about this stuff, no? You can’t be frustrated all the time because the neighbor has a bigger house than you or a bigger TV or better garden. That’s not the way that I see the life.

“It’s a motivation, but it’s not my obsession. If you ask me whether I would like it, of course; is it a goal in my career, no. It’s not what makes me get up every morning or go and train and play. It’s not the way in which I view the sport, and it’s not the way in which I consider my sports career.

“I want to follow my own journey, give myself the best opportunities, and give myself the possibility of competing at the highest level. And if I end up in a position like that of today where I’m the one who won most Roland-Garros titles in history, well, all very well.

“But I don’t think my future will be worth any more if I equal Federer’s record or if I do something like Djokovic or whatever.”

The win was also Nadal’s 82nd of his career and 59th on clay. He has now won his last 23 matches at Roland Garros and overall is 117-2 in best-of-5 set matches on his favorite surface.

The 33-year-old Nadal said he won’t play any grass warm-ups to stay as fresh as possible for Wimbledon where he took eventual champion Djokovic to five sets under the roof. Rafa has more titles to win.


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25 Comments for Nadal Too Tough For Thiem, Wins 12th French Open Title

Tennis Fan Says:

After Thiem won the second set, Rafa lifted his game a couple of notches and Thiem had no answer. Thiem couldn’t even hold his serve after that.

The bull in beast mode. I have a feeling no one will win 12 French Opens for a looong time.


Nick Says:

I have a feeling this could be Nadal’s last slam. He’s getting married, is 33, was quite vulnerable this year overall.

Regardless, his 12 FO titles is the toughest achievement in tennis – tougher than anything Fed has done (which is a lot). I don’t think any player will ever surpass this one. Especially because its the French Open, where the number of 4+ winners on the mens side is – really really small – Nadal(12) & Borg (6). Its just really hard to win multiple French open titles.

Fed might just eke out another wimbledon if he gets lucky with the draw, but that’s it for him too.

Question is where Djokovic is now – at 32. Thiem, Tsitsipas, Zverev, Khachanov, and some others are right at the cusp.

Nadal and Federer have no equals.


Kimberly Says:

Hail to the king of clay!

My mother won the bracket challenge by the way.

The rest of the year should be interesting hoping Rafa stays healthy and can get the USO. I’m past having any expectations on grass for him!


Andy Mira Says:

YESSSS!!..Alhamdulillah!12 really is possible!!…More Rafa please!…

Btw…Congrats to your mom Kimberly for winning Brackets!…

And many thanks to RZ for the hard work in materializing Racquet Bracket…Really really appreciated RZ!…Can’t wait for Wimby challenge next…It’s going to be interesting to guess who’s going to win it this year…

Oh yeah RZ!…Sorry for Thiem’s loss k?I really believe he’ll win it someday,insyaallah….This loss only made him stronger mentally…There’ll be another chance…


RZ Says:

Congrats to Joan for winning the bracket challenge! And thanks to Kimberly for getting her mom to play.

AM, you’re welcome. Glad you played too.


RZ Says:

Sad that Thiem couldn’t manage the seemingly impossible today but he is getting closer and seems to have stopped losing 5-set heartbreakers. Hopefully next year


Michael Says:

Rafa, the undisputed and unambiguous GOAT of Clay does it yet again and it is always a given when he in the peak of health and form.Perhaps, Novak would have given a better fight and made it more nailbiting and interesting. But it was not to be. However, I am not sure whether he would have managed to upend Nadal in such a scintillating form. My hats off to this Great Champion and all that he has did over the years to this glamorous and charming Sport which has captivated millions by its artistry, power and beauty.This is a remarkable record which is here to stay atleast for another 100 generations and it looks insurmountable in any format of the game. Also, my hearty congratulations to all hardcore Rafans in this forum and elsewhere. Your man deserved it and you deserve to be in the seventh heaven and being smug and proud of what he has done !!


Michael Says:

One is short of superlatives to describe this gargantuan achievement. It is something incredible and out of the World for a man to dominate a grand slam tournament in such a comprehensive and authoritarian fashion. It has no parallels before or perhaps after. Just bow to this man to acknowledge his greatness.


FedExpress Says:

Thiem got screwed. Mental fatigue kicked in.

One day could have made a big difference. RG is the worst GS of all. Only after money profit.


RZ Says:

One gripe about the Trunk – it’s inaccurate to say that Kiki Bertens couldn’t handle the pressure of being a favorite. It’s not like she choked a match away; she retired her match due to illness.


SG1 Says:

I thought Fed would push Rafa. Didn’t happen. I thought the winner of the Thiem-Nole semi would win the whole thing. I was wrong about that as well. I just figured that at some point, the odds would swing against Rafa but Rafa, as he has always done throughout his career, finds a way to defy the odds.


SG1 Says:

I am happy to see him win. He deserves it. When will any of us ever see something like this again? It may be several hundred years before someone does this kind of thing again. If Rafa were French, he’d already have been canonized.

The man never gives up, never quits. 12 FO’s in 15 years. It’s surreal.


Daniel Says:

As there is still no grass tread I will post this here.

If Federer wins Halle, as Nadal said he won’t play any grass tune up, Fed gest the #2 seed for Wimbledon due to its’ specific rankings:

Current rankings for next week after Stutgart drop of:
– Nadal 7945 pts
– Federer 6670 – 250 (Stutgart title last year) = 6420 pts

Wimbledon seeds points: ATP rankings as of Monday June 24th + total of last 12 months grass points + 75% of best 2017 grass result

– Nadal: 7945 + 720 (Wimby 2018 semis) + 135 (180 x 0,75) Wimby R17 2017) = 8.800 pts

– Federer: 6420 + 200 (Halle finalist last year so if he wins 2019 he only gains 200 pts) + 500 (Halle 2019 last 12 months) + 360 (Wimby 2018 QF last 12 months) + 1500 (2000 x 0,75 Wimby 2017 title) = 8.980 pts.

So, a lot at stake for Federer in Halle. A title there place him at #2 seed for Wimbledon, avoiding Djoko before finals and a toss up 50% chance that Nadal may land in Djoko’s side of the draw. This way he would potentially only play one of them in finals. That could be a good draw for him to make his potential swan song.

But knowing that the tennis world is desperate to milk any Fedal left, I believe even if Fed is #2 seed, Nadal will land on his side for a potential blockbuster semis.


Van Persie Says:

Nole should start on Monday at Wimby as 1st seeded and champion, right?

Giles,

The difference in the race for London is pretty small, do not forget, no more clay😉


Van Persie Says:

Think Nole will be very motivated for Wimby this year and have the feeling Thiem will win UO.


lylenubbins Says:

I would love to see Rafa get a shot at Roger at Wimbledon. Anything but another match with the Joker.


Annie Says:

Michael…thanks for the props RE being RAFAEL’s hardcore fans. But we were in 7th heaven when he won his 7th FO Crown and I don’t know about the others, but I do not gloat. I just marvel at RAFA’s grit/determination/guts/never give up attitude. he does not know any other way to play. It’s who he is and How he is!!!
As far as someone else saying they didn’t think he can win another one? Just because he’s getting married that does not change anything for him?
NO one will ever break that record…it sure blows your mind doesn’t it. RAFA is my Tennis Guy…has been since he came out of nowhere and won the FO on his 1st try!!! Will never stop loving this man!!!
What’s not to love?
He is a world Class Citizen, can’t imagine another human being having his unique qualities! VAMOS RAFA!!!


Daniel Says:

“The difference in the race for London is pretty small, do not forget, no more clay😉”

Indeed VP, pretty much every year Nadal won RG he lead the race by a pretty big cushion after it. This year the gap is small and there are actually 5 players on the race, Roger, Thiem and Tsisi as well, but for those 3 they will have to win at least 1 Slams to stay in contention.

The race can change quick, depending on how things go in Wimbleon, both Federer (only if he wins it) and Djoko can be ahead of Nadal, specially if he cracs earlier whcih is not difficult to happen.

Don’t know yet if Djoko will play Queens this year, think he should.


Django Says:

VP
Why do you think DT will win UO? Has he even won a master trophy yet?


Van Persie Says:

replied with the other comment. He won IW


John Says:

Annie-I couldn’t possibly agree with you more.I have always been a Rafa fan because he is exciting to watch.Roger and Novak play like machines but Rafa plays every point as if his life depended on it.As for Rafa not winning another slam because he is getting married is insane.Not only do I think Rafa can beat Roger’s record,I think he will,especially if he can manage to get 1 more slam this year but more than that I hope he can get another AO because he will be the only player in the open era who would have at least 2 titles at every slam. Rafa is a BEAST!!!!!


Django Says:

Ok he won IW so that means UO?
Call me skeptical.
We shall see.


Van Persie Says:

Django,

I assumed only, he could win UO, it does not mean this will happen :)
Al good with you being skeptical, as the Big3 is still the safest bet


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