Pella progresses at Stuttgart Open; Zverev to play Federer

Pella progresses at Stuttgart Open; Zverev to play Federer

Rafael Nadal was at his awe-inspiring best as he crushed Austrian Dominic Thiem to snatch a record-extending 11th French Open title with a 6-4 6-3 6-2 victory yesterday. "I gave everything I had, and I'm the loser of today".

"I play for my happiness, and I know that I had already, yeah, an incredible career".

For 24-year-old Thiem, playing in his first Grand Slam final, it was a deflating defeat for the only man to have beaten the Spaniard on clay in the last two years.

"You can't be frustrated always if somebody have more money than you, if somebody have a bigger house than you, if somebody have more grand slams than you".

And entering Sunday, there was at least some reason to believe that Thiem could make things interesting in the final. "Dominic is a good friend, but I played my best match in the final".

Sunday's score might have looked rather routine, but there was some drama in the third set in sticky Paris when Nadal called for the trainer at 2-1, 30-0. The losses came against Thiem at Rome in May 2017 and at Madrid last month.

Thiem save three break points to hold his service into the third set, but the "King of Clay" responded by fully exhibiting his powerful forehand for astute winners.

Thiem dug in - especially in the roughly 13-minute sixth game - but he crumbled attempting to stay in the set, making four unforced errors. That was part of a five-game run that sent Nadal on his way. "I didn't drop a set for the rest of the grasscourt season, which I was very happy about. And it was, for sure, not the turning point".

Roger Federer
GETTYRoger Federer is no longer tied into a Nike contract but will continue to wear the company's gear

"The watch keeps going always", Nadal said.

Thiem's fighting spirit was evident in abundance - he continued to put pressure on Nadal through his return game, while consistently scrapping to stave off perilous positions on his own serve - but ultimately the Spaniard's quality and, often, his sheer force of will, won the day.

Nadal is so dominant and so impervious on clay, in general, and at this tournament, especially, it made sense for Thiem to go for broke as much as possible, accepting that there would be risks along with the rewards.

Maybe nerves were a factor in Thiem's performance.

Federer's likely road to the final will go through Zverev, (6) Shapavalov, (4) Kyrgios, and the defending champ (2) Pouille in the championship match...

I added one more grand slam - 17 is an incredible number.

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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