Rafael Nadal bites the Mousquetaires Cup after winning the 2019 French Open. -AFP
Rafael Nadal swept to an historic 12th Roland Garros title and 18th Grand Slam crown on Sunday with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 victory over Austria's Dominic Thiem.The 33-year-old Spaniard becomes the first player, man or woman, to win the same Slam 12 times after seeing off a brave challenge from a weary Thiem in a repeat of the 2018 final.
Nadal is now just two behind Roger Federer's all-time record of 20 majors and three ahead of Novak Djokovic who was knocked out by Thiem in the semi-finals. The world number two also took his Paris record to an astonishing 93 wins and just two losses having previously won the title in 2005-2008, 2010-2014, 2017 and 2018.
"I want to say congratulations to Dominic. I feel sorry as he deserves to win it as well," said Nadal. "But he has every chance in the future. He has an unbelievable talent for the sport and I want to encourage him for the future."It's a dream to win again, an incredible moment. When I first played here in 2005 I never thought I would be still playing here in 2019. "It's very special for me."
Sunday's triumph confirmed the 'Big Three' stranglehold on the Grand Slams having shared the last 10 between them. It also gave Nadal an 82nd career title and 950th match win."It's very tough. I gave everything these last two weeks," said Thiem, who had seven fewer winners and seven more unforced errors in the final.
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