Garbine Muguruza romps to victory in women's Wimbledon final
Poriborton Desk 12:21 pm, July 16, 2017
We have been living in an era where age has appeared to be no barrier to success, but youth had its day here on Centre Court as Garbine Muguruza ended Venus Williams’ hopes of becoming the oldest women’s Wimbledon champion in the Open era.
The meeting of the 23-year-old Spaniard and the 37-year-old American had been expected to be a tight battle between two ferocious ball-strikers, but after a tense first set the match became a brutally one-sided contest as Muguruza won 7-5, 6-0 in just 77 minutes.
In an extraordinary turnaround in fortunes, Muguruza saved two set points at 4-5 in the first set and then won nine games in a row to claim her first Wimbledon title, two years after losing to Williams’ sister, Serena, in her first Grand Slam final. She is the first player to have beaten both sisters in Grand Slam finals.
Muguruza, who went on to win her first Grand Slam title at last year’s French Open, proved again that she is a player for the big occasion. The world No 15, who will climb 10 places in Monday’s updated world rankings list, has won only four titles in her career, but two of them have been at Grand Slam level.
Facing an opponent seeking her sixth Wimbledon singles title, Muguruza demonstrated admirable mastery of the grass-court game. Like nearly all her contemporaries she prefers to play most points from the baseline, from where her thumping ground strokes can be very damaging, but the Spaniard is also prepared to attack the net, where her volleys can be equally effective.
In the end Williams appeared unable to cope with the relentless power of Muguruza’s big-hitting game. Having held her own for most of the first set, the five-times champion faded badly in the second. Whether or not it was the years catching up with her, the American’s collapse in the later stages was painful to watch.
Muguruza is the second Spanish women’s champion here after Conchita Martinez, the winner in 1994. Fittingly enough, Muguruza has been working here with Martinez, who stepped in for Sam Sumyk, the champion’s permanent coach, who has been absent because his wife is about to give birth.
Because of rain this was the first Wimbledon women’s final to be played under the retractable Centre Court cover. With the roof shut, the sound of ball on racket seemed to be louder than ever as the two women hit their shots with great power.
Both appeared to suffer with nerves in the opening set. Muguruza’s were reflected in some wild forehands, several of which sailed well beyond the baseline, while Williams hit four double faults in the first set and made 15 unforced errors.
If anyone had the edge in the early stages it was Williams, who hit an ace on the first point while Muguruza opened her first service game with a double fault. When the Spaniard defended the first break point of the first set in the sixth game Williams wasted a good chance when she netted a forehand.
Williams saved a break point in the next game, in which she served three double faults, but missed a glorious opportunity to take a grip on the match when Muguruza served at 4-5.
With her first serve faltering, Muguruza went 15-40 down but promptly saved both set points with some bold play, getting the better of a lengthy baseline rally and then hitting a service winner.
The importance of that hold of serve was emphasised in the next game as Muguruza made the only break of the first set, her big ground strokes forcing Williams into errors.
At 6-5 Muguruza created two set points of her own with the shot of the match, hitting a superb defensive lob which hit the baseline and flew beyond Williams’ reach. A big forehand by the American kept the set alive but on the next point she netted a backhand.
Losing the set seemed to knock the stuffing out of Williams, who cut a sorry figure in the second set. The American’s achievement in reaching two Grand Slam finals this year is extraordinary, but on this occasion she looked her age as she was forced back in the face of Muguruza’s onslaught.
Another double fault handed Muguruza a break in the opening game of the second set and the Spaniard broke again two games later as a tired-looking Williams missed what should have been a straightforward volley.
The end was swift. Williams was broken again, this time to love, giving Muguruza the chance to serve for the match. Williams saved the first two match points with bold returns, but on the third a backhand sailed beyond the baseline.
We have learned many times in the past never to write off either of the Williams sisters, but if this proves to be Venus’ last appearance in a Grand Slam final it will have been a sad way to bow out.
Source: The Independent
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