PARIS (AP) — It all took a toll on Dominic Thiem, both physically and mentally, and that left him in no condition to do what it would take to beat Rafael Nadal in the French Open final.
Just to earn the right to face Nadal for the title at Roland Garros for the second year in a row Sunday, Thiem needed to end No. 1 Novak Djokovic’s 26-match Grand Slam winning streak. That took five sets over 4 hours, 13 minutes spread over two rain-interrupted days.
Then, less than 24 hours after that one concluded, Thiem needed to step on court for the fourth consecutive day to try to deal with Nadal and everything that entails. For the final’s opening two sets, Thiem was able to hang with the man known as the King of Clay. And then?
“I had a little drop, which is, against most of the players, not that bad,” Thiem said, “but he took the chance and stepped right on me.”
Nadal reeled off 16 of the initial 17 points in the third set on the way to taking 12 of the last 14 games in a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 victory over Thiem. That gave Nadal his 12th French Open title and 18th Grand Slam trophy overall, while denying Thiem what would have…