Nadal, Halep 1st pair of No. 1 French Open champs since 1992


Nadal, Halep 1st pair of No. 1 French Open champs since 1992

It leaves Nadal just three adrift of the 20 grand slam titles won by Federer, who returns to action on the ATP Tour for the first time since March at the Stuttgart Open, having opted to skip the clay-court season for the second year running.

Victory on Sunday moved Nadal to just three Slams behind his great rival Roger Federer who, at 36, is more than four years older.

But if you think it's going to be a simple Sunday stroll for Nadal to get this 11th French Open title, consider that his opponent is a fitting foe on the final stage.

Paris - If Benjamin Franklin were alive today, he'd have to amend his belief that death and taxes are life's only certainties and add a third - Rafael Nadal winning the French Open.

"I was looking and I was trying to learn something from other players who are really focused on the Grand Slams".

In Madrid, Thiem said the key was to be positive against Nadal.

Written off as fading forces two years ago, Nadal, 32, and Roger Federer, approaching 37, have won the last six Grand Slam titles between them.

"If you tell me seven, eight years ago that I will be here, 32 years old, having this trophy with me again, I would tell you that is something nearly impossible, but here we are".

Dominic Thiem of Austria was no match for the veteran, and the cramp was simply the latest in a significant string of fitness issues which have plagued Nadal over the course of the competition.

Victory also took Nadal's record at Roland Garros to 86 wins and just two losses.

"I would love to be playing in as many places as possible, but you understand I need to check how I feel in the next couple of days", said Nadal as he pondered his preparation for Wimbledon which gets underway in three weeks' time. The Spaniard's 11th Monte Carlo title and his eighth Rome title were his 31st and 32nd Masters titles, respectively, breaking a tie with Djokovic, who has won 30. He lost in the semifinals in the last two years and has been the second best clay-court player in the world during that time.

Thiem did at least remind Nadal of his age, saying; "I can still remember being 11 when (Nadal) won here for the first time and I watched on the TV". Of course decide what's better for my body. "I hope to see you again next year". Nadal -5.5 games is available on the Exchange at [1.68] and given the fact that Nadal has tended to dominate Thiem on non-quick clay, this should be a very likely outcome if Nadal wins the final.

Nadal earned another break early in the third set and looked to be home free to his 11th title from there.

"You can't be always frustrated if somebody has more money than you, has a bigger house than you, has more Grand Slams than you".

The Swiss legend last played in March when he suffered a first round exit in the Miami Open at the hands of Thanasi Kokkinakis, which also saw him lose his No. 1 ranking to Nadal as a result.