Rafael Nadal wins 11th French Open despite late injury scare

Rafael Nadal celebrates with the trophy after winning the final against Austria's Dominic Thiem. (Reuters)
Updated 10 June 2018
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Rafael Nadal wins 11th French Open despite late injury scare

  • Spaniard beats Dominic Thiem in straight sets
  • He now has 17 Grand Slam titles, just three behind great rival Roger Federer

PARIS: Rafael Nadal claimed an 11th French Open title on Sunday with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 demolition of Dominic Thiem despite a worrying injury scare in the closing stages of the final.
The 32-year-old world No. 1 now has 17 Grand Slam titles, just three behind great rival Roger Federer.
Nadal endured a nervy conclusion to the final, however, when he needed treatment in the fourth game of the third set for a finger injury before sealing victory on a fifth match point when Thiem fired a backhand long.
“It’s really incredible. I played a great match against a great player,” said Nadal.
“I had tough moment in the third set with cramps in my hand. I was very scared but that’s sport — it was very humid.
“To win 11 times here — it’s fantastic and not something I ever dreamed of.”
Nadal joins Australia’s Margaret Court as the only player to win 11 titles at the same major.
Victory also took Nadal’s record at Roland Garros to 86 wins and just two losses.
For Thiem, playing in his first Slam final, it was a tremendous letdown for a player who is the only man to have beaten the Spaniard on clay in the last two years.
With a celebrity audience — including actors Hugh Grant and Tim Roth as well as French stars Marion Cotillard and Jean Dujardin — watching, Nadal flew out of the blocks.
He reeled off the first six points for a 2-0 lead before Thiem settled and repaired the damage for 2-2.
The Austrian speared a 222 km/h ace just for good measure in the fourth game to save a break point.
He saved another two in the 11-minute sixth game, a performance cheered by the crowd who briefly became more animated when glum-looking French football icon Zinedine Zidane was spotted in the stadium.
Despite matching Nadal forehand for forehand, Thiem was undone in the 10th game when three errors handed Nadal the opening set after 52 minutes on court.
A wild, misguided forehand sealed his fate, one of 18 unforced errors to Nadal’s 12 in the set.
In their previous nine meetings, all on clay, the man who took the opening set went on to win the match.
That scenario loomed again with Nadal going to 2-0 in the second set on a fifth break point as Thiem fired another backhand wide.
Thiem wasted a break point in the seventh game as Nadal collected a time violation for taking too long to serve.
The world No. 1 saved it and went on to secure a two sets lead when yet another backhand from the Austrian drifted wide.
Thiem was under the cosh, saving four break points in the first game of the third set before Nadal inevitably broke for 2-1.
Bizarrely, Nadal then halted playing in the fourth game complaining of pain in his left hand and stretching his middle finger.
He still won the game anyway before summoning the doctor and trainer courtside.
Whatever the problem, his dominance remained and a love game took him to 4-2 before he eventially sealed victory on a fifth match point when the Austrian fired another backhand long.


Platini released from custody after police questioning

Updated 19 June 2019
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Platini released from custody after police questioning

  • French authorities haven’t announced any charges against Platini
  • The authorities also questioned a sport adviser from the previous French president’s administration

PARIS: Former UEFA president Michel Platini was released from custody in the early hours of Wednesday after being questioned as part of a corruption investigation into the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
His communication team said that Platini’s detention ended at 12:30 a.m. local time.
Platini had denied any wrongdoing and French authorities did not announce any charges against the former France and Juventus player.
“It was long, but given the number of questions it could not be different,” Platini said after his release. “They asked me questions about the 2016 Euro, the World Cup in Russia, the World Cup in Qatar, the Paris Saint-Germain, FIFA.”
Also questioned Tuesday were Sophie Dion, a sports adviser in former French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s administration, and Claude Gueant, the former secretary general of the Elysee presidential palace under Sarkozy.
Ahead of the FIFA vote, Sarkozy hosted a meeting in November 2010 that brought Platini together with Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, then the crown prince of Qatar and now its ruling emir. Al-Thani also owns the French soccer club Paris Saint-Germain, and Sarkozy frequently attends its games.
Qatar beat the long-favored United States 14 to 8 when FIFA selected the host country for the 2022 World Cup
As head of European soccer’s governing body UEFA, Platini was the continent’s top representative on the FIFA committee that picked Qatar.
French prosecutors are known to be investigating an array of winning bids for major sports events, including the 2018 World Cup, awarded to Russia, the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo and track and field world championships.

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READ MORE: TIMELINE: The trail of corruption allegations surrounding the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar

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