By the numbers - Rafael Nadal wins record 11th French Open title

Sunday, 10 Jun, 2018

In the week (and wake) of Marco Cecchinato's titanic tie-break triumph against Novak Djokovic at the French Open, Martin Keady, our resident tennis historian, considers where it ranks among the finest tie-breaks in the history of men's tennis.

The Austrian is one of just three players to down Nadal on clay at least three times.

The Spaniard continued his extraordinary domination at Roland Garros with a ruthless 6-4 6-3 6-2 victory.

The culmination of the second set was a tiebreak, during which Cecchinato thanks to blunders by the Tim battled back from 3:6.

Nadal broke Thiem in his first service game to give the 10-time champion an early 2-0 lead in the first set.

The decisive game quickly turned into a formality - frustrated Cecchinato twice lost her serve and made eight unforced errors in only one actively winning the ball.

Up a break at 2-1 in the third set, Nadal stopped serving after a fault because he couldn't straighten his left middle finger. To do so, he first had to beat Federer in the semi-final, which went all the way to five sets.

In a topsy-turvy afternoon on Court Suzanne Lenglen, Djokovic raced through the third set in just 27 minutes before requiring further medical attention, this time for a right leg injury.

He went on to reach his second consecutive final, where he became the first player to defeat Roger Federer in a Grand Slam final. But against an opponent of Nadal's caliber, a lack of variance in his game plan proved crippling.

The Austrian - competing in his first grand slam final after a pair of semifinal showings in Paris - needed to win the first set to have any realistic opportunity of ending Nadal's reign. And he took the biggest of big cuts on his groundstrokes, his feet leaving the ground as he threw his whole body into them, as if the very outcome of the match - not any individual point, but the whole shebang - depended on the strength of that one whip of his white racket. So there was mild concern when Nadal called for the trainer midway through a game, requiring treatment on what looked like cramp in his hand.

His lead was reminiscent of their semifinal at the French Open previous year, when Nadal also held the early advantage.

A dejected Nadal suffered a stunning loss against Robin Soderling at the French Open.

But Thiem showed resilience in getting two break points on Nadal's serve. It is as simple as it is hard: Thiem will likely need the best match of his life to earn his first major tennis title.

In contrast, there are eight women now younger than 28 who have been Grand Slam singles finalists. Only Thiem's 2016 victory over Nadal in Buenos Aires was a success on non-quick clay.

The women's doubles final is also Sunday.