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Nadal wins 12th French Open for 18th career Grand Slam

Rafael Nadal wins 12th French Open title
Rafael Nadal wins 12th French Open title 00:30

Paris — Rafael Nadal pulled away in what had suddenly become a tight final to beat Dominic Thiem 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 Sunday for his record-extending 12th French Open championship.

It raises Nadal's Grand Slam title count to 18, within two of Roger Federer's record for a man.

The 33-year-old Spaniard improved to 93-2 at Roland Garros, including a combined 24-0 in semifinals and finals.

This was a rematch of last year's final, which Nadal won in straight sets against Thiem, a 25-year-old Austrian who beat No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semifinals and was seeking his first major trophy.

French Open - Roland Garros
Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after his final match against Austria's Dominic Thiem at the French Open on June 9, 2019. Reuters

Thiem made it seem as if this one could be much more difficult for Nadal, taking the second set to make it one set apiece.

But the No. 2-seeded Nadal reasserted himself there to grab control. He won 16 of the initial 17 points in the third set en route to collecting 12 of the last 14 games.

No other man or woman has won as many as 12 titles at any of the four Grand Slam tournaments.

When it ended, Nadal dropped to his back on the clay he loves so much, then covered his face with both hands.

France Tennis French Open
Rafael Nadal celebrates his record 12th French Open title at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Sunday, June 9, 2019. AP
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