Nadal clinched an 11th French Open with a 6-4 6-3 6-2 victory against Dominic Thiem on Sunday to take his majors total to 17. In the other semi-final, Marco Cecchinato's unusual run in the last two weeks was ended by Dominic Thiem, also in straight sets, although the first two sets were somewhat closer than anything Del Potro could muster.
But from the moment Nadal broke serve in the 10th game to win the opening set Thiem's belief ebbed away. He removed the tape from his left wrist and seemed to take a tablet. He was visited by the trainer that day, too, with Nadal saying it was to prevent sweat from traveling to his hand. There is nothing to suggest Nadal's domination on the Parisian dirt will end any time soon.
Spain's Rafael Nadal reacts as he plays Austria's Dominic Thiem during the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, Sunday, June 10, 2018 in Paris. He is, however, the second player overall to win a major 11 times after Australia's Margaret Court, who won four of her 11 Australian Open titles after the start of the Open Era in 1968.
Before the clay-court season, the 36-year-old notably claimed he was interested in facing Nadal on the surface until he decided against participating following his loss in the Miami Open.
At the Australian Open last January, a depleted Halep fell to Caroline Wozniacki in a gruelling three-set final.
Over the best-of-five sets on clay, Nadal improved to 111-2 - it is a figure nearly as imposing as the nearby Eiffel Tower - his lone reverses coming against Robin Soderling in 2009 and Novak Djokovic in 2015 at the French Open.
Ken Rosewall, who won the title in 1953 and 1968, presented Nadal with the trophy.
Thiem undid all his good work in the next game, netting an easy volley on the first point and gifting Nadal three more unforced errors to hand over the first set.
As if the task was not daunting enough for Thiem, the early signs were even more ominous.
He reeled off the first six points for a 2-0 lead before Thiem settled and repaired the damage for 2-2.
Nadal comfortably beats his compatriot for an eighth French Open but the hard yards were achieved in the semi-finals when he defeated Djokovic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7, 9-7 in a 4-hour 37-minute epic.
But the Austrian freed his shoulders and broke back in the third game with forehand victor - pumping his fists in the direction of coach Gunter Bresnik.
The problem for the 24-year-old was that his serve wasn't co-operating.
But those are not quite the same as the French Open, where Nadal is 86-2 for his career.
Thiem saved a first breakpoint in that game but couldn't save the second, hitting a forehand wide.
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.