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Nadal enlarges his legend with a twelfth Roland Garros

Nadal enlarges his legend with a twelfth Roland Garros

Spanish Rafa Nadal confirmed his reign at Roland Garros by winning a historic twelfth title in Paris after a final in which he beat Austrian Dominic Thiem in four sets, whom he defeated 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 and 6 -one.

Nadal, world number two, continues like this at 33 years old without giving up the throne of clay to which many consider his heir on this surface and who had already been his victim in the final of this tournament last year.

“Relatively recently, I didn’t know if I could be competing here. This trophy means a lot to me, “Nadal said in Spanish, alluding to his repeated physical problems, after receiving the trophy on the court from the legendary Australian former tennis player Rod Laver.

The numbers of Nadal’s record are impressive: it is his 82nd title and the eighteenth in a Grand Slam, so Roger Federer’s record of 20 greats is already very close.

Nobody in tennis had managed to win twelve titles in the same Grand Slam, a new feat that adds to Nadal’s history, who this Sunday left behind the equality to eleven he had with the legendary Margaret Court, who had achieved that amount in the Australian Open, his country.

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In the Roland Garros track record, Nadal now doubles the second most times champion in the men’s tournament in the ‘Open era’, the Swede Björn Borg, who lifted the trophy six times. In the first years of the tournament, the French Max Decugis went on to win eight, between 1903 and 1914.

Nadal had not won a Grand Slam tournament since his 11th Roland Garros a year ago. At the Australian Open he was runner-up in January, clearly beaten in the final by Novak Djokovic.

After a right knee problem in March at Indian Wells, Nadal had faced the European clay-court season with great doubts.

The alarms went off when he chained three defeats in the semifinals of three consecutive tournaments (Monte Carlo, Barcelona, ​​Madrid), in the Catalan city precisely against Thiem, but the title in Rome allowed him to release his record of this 2019 and travel to Paris with the confidence needed to meet the challenge.

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Thiem, at 25, beat the Spaniard four times on clay in the past, but at Roland Garros everything is different for Nadal, who has beaten him on all four occasions they have met in that tournament, including both. last finals.

«I’m sad to lose, but Rafa, you are a great champion, a legend. Twelve times champion here… I’ll be back here next year, ”the Austrian warned with a smile.

– Flash reaction –

At the beginning of the final, followed from the presidential rostrum by the Spanish King Emeritus Juan Carlos I, it was already clear that Thiem was not going to make things easy, with long exchanges and spectacular blows.

The Austrian was the first to get a break, to go 3-2 up, but Nadal reacted angrily, won four games in a row, including two breaks from Thiem’s ​​powerful serve, and took the first set 6-3.

In the second set, the two maintained a war of nerves, winning the games with their serve, until Thiem got the only break, right in the twelfth game, to take the set 7-5 and balance the match again.

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Until then, the only set that Nadal had lost in the entire tournament had been in the third round against Belgian David Goffin (29th).

In the third set, Nadal’s reaction was one of wounded pride, becoming the hurricane that had swept through Kei Nishikori in the quarterfinals and Roger Federer in the semifinals.

Two breaks from Thiem’s ​​serve allowed him to quickly move to 4-0 on the scoreboard. The Austrian stopped the bleeding with his first game, but Nadal closed the set with two games in a row and a new break, for 6-1.

The beast had woken up and the fourth set was the one with the final blow.

Again he started breaking the Austrian’s service, he distanced himself 3-0 on the scoreboard. Thiem added a game and all the others went to Nadal, who finished with another 6-1.

On Saturday, the tournament had crowned its new queen, Australian Ashleigh Barty, who had no problems (6-1, 6-3) in the final against 19-year-old Czech revelation Marketa Vondrousova. AFP

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