King of clay: Nadal wins 12th French Open title

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Rafael Nadal of Spain competes during the men's singles final with Dominic Thiem of Austria at French Open tennis tournament 2019 at Roland Garros, in Paris, France on June 9, 2019. (Xinhua/Gao Jing)

Rafael Nadal claimed his record-extending 12th title at the French Open with a four-set victory over Dominic Thiem in the men's singles final on Sunday, becoming the first player in history to win 12 singles titles at any Grand Slam event.

Nadal triumphed 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 in a rematch of last year's final over the 25-year-old Austrian.

"The first set has been so tough with high intensity and great points. It was impossible to hold that thing during the whole match. In the second set, we were winning our serves with comfort. Then he played a good game, I played a bad game in the 6-5, and that's it," Nadal pointed out.

"Then I went to the bathroom. I was able to think a little bit about what's going on and just came back with clear ideas," he added.

Nadal improved his tournament record to 93-2. After converting his second match through a long forehand from Thiem, he emotionally lay on the ground of the Court Philippe Chatrier in spectators' cheering.

It was the Spaniard's third title at the tournament in consecutive years and 18th Grand Slam champion in total.

"After two sets, I dropped a little bit in my level. Then Rafa, who won this tournament 12 times, stepped on me," Thiem commented.

Earlier on Sunday, second-seeded Timea Babos/Kristina Mladenovic outclassed Chinese pair of Duan Yingying/Zheng Saisai in the women's doubles final 6-2, 6-3. 

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