Rafael Nadal Wins 12th French Open Title

Rafael Nadal defeats Dominic Thiem to set new record for the most French Open victories.

Rafael Nadal bites the trophy at the 2019 French Open.
Julian Finney / Getty Images

Rafael Nadal defeats Dominic Thiem to set new record for the most French Open victories.

Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal set another record on Sunday when he won his 12th French Open, according to CNN.

Nadal, 33, beat Dominic Thiem, 25, winning three out of four sets to claim his victory. The two went back and forth in the beginning, with Nadal winning the first set and Thiem winning the second, but Nadal came back decisively in the third and the fourth sets, overpowering an increasingly weary-looking Thiem.

This was the third season in a row that Thiem, a tennis pro from Austria, lost to Nadal in the French Open after having beaten him in a warm-up. Thiem had a difficult weekend before he and Nadal squared off, having played a match on each of the four days preceding their showdown.

Theim’s schedule was so challenging that his coach, Nicolas Massu, asked the tournament organizers if they would be willing to push the match to Monday to allow Thiem a chance to recover. Massu was told there was no chance of rescheduling, and the match was played as originally planned.

On the Saturday before the match with Nadal, Thiem was victorious over the top-ranked men’s singles champion, Novak Djokovic, after a three-hour-long battle that took a toll on Thiem. Thiem admitted as much, stating, “It was a grand slam final, so I didn’t feel tired in the match. But at the same time, a match like yesterday, beating Novak over two days with all the interruptions, it leaves traces on the body and also on the mind. That’s 100%.”

Rafael Nadal at the French Open.
Rafael Nadal stretches for a backhand in a match against Dominic Thiem at the French Open. Julian Finney / Getty Images

Nadal and Thiem would also play for over three hours. They settled into a comfortable rhythm in the first set, which lasted nearly an hour, and then Thiem seemed to take the advantage with his victory in the second set. However, after a brief break, Nadal returned to the court with determination and power, quickly scoring the first 11 points of the third set and setting a dominating tone that would last until the end of the match.

Nadal took to Twitter to thank his fans and state that he still couldn’t believe that he had won his 12th French Open.

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Nadal is now 93-2 at the French Open and has never been taken to a full five sets or lost a final. Nadal is now just two grand slams behind Roger Federer, who Nadal defeated in their headline-grabbing semifinal on Friday night in the first match the two champions have played in 11 years.