Second Grand Slam for the 23-year-old Spaniard who defeated Serena Williams in the 2015 French Open final
By ARNIE LESHIN, Santa Fe Today
She was only a year old when Venus Williams turned pro in 1994. As she grew up with a love for tennis, she especially admired Venus and her sister, Serena.
Now she’s the lady of Spain after 23-year-old Garbine Muguruza made her way through a close opening set to dominate the second set at love, claim her second Grand Slam championship, and realize her dreams of winning the prestigious Wimbledon title.
In a remarkable display of composure, she took out the older Williams, 7-5, 6-0, Saturday morning in only 77 minutes, and after defeating Serena for the French Open championship in 2015, is now the lone player to defeat both William sisters in Gran Slam finals, although Serena did gain some revenge with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Muguruza in the 2015 Wimbledon final.
But this was Muguruza time after she now becomes the No. 5-ranked player in the world.
After her only break of service that put her behind, 5-4, in the first set, the Spaniard won the next nine games, handing Williams her only loss at love in a Grand Slam match. She broke the 37-year-old Williams six times, and needed only 22 minutes in set two and one final review on a Williams baseline shot that was ruled long.
Then she combined tears and joy to celebrate. No doubt she was overwhelmed and no doubt Williams had to be disappointed after the match turned to the 14th seeded Muguruza in rapid order following her service break that put her up 6-5. Then she served for the set and promptly took control to win handily and halt Williams’ resurgence that put her close to her sixth Wimbledon title. Now she will be ranked ninth, but don’t feel too sorry for her after her career total became $37.9 million.
But for Muguruza, the time is now. She’s young, talented and now has the feel of winning a pair of Grand Slam championships.
“I was a little nervous at the start,” she said, “but settled down and kept my composure after that. I was especially happy to hang tough in that first set, and then gain momentum.”
Momentum and her forehand went together as she moved Williams side to side. In the fourth game of the second set, she won a long rally and then proceeded to rip four-straight shots past the 10th seeded Williams, the last had Williams going one way and the blazing shot the other way. Williams’ reaction was a shake of the head, while Muguruza showed little emotion despite knowing she was close to hoisting the gold championship plague.
Said Williams, who handled the setback with class: “Garbine just outplayed me, took me out of my game, blasted forehands tough to return, and served well when she had to.”
True in the second set, but in the first Muguruza got in only 20 percent of her first serves. More relaxed and confident in the second set, she placed 80 percent of her first serves in, never letting Williams into the set, and becoming the second woman from Spain to win Wimbledon after Cochita Martinez did so in 1994 over Martina Navratilova.
She paraded around the centre court with her trophy, as did Williams with her silver award. Not long after, it was hugging time for Muguruza, with
Martinez, one of her coaches, and former men’s Wimbledon champion Rafael Santana of Spain, among those she first made contact with.
The real drama came when she served and got in a hole at 0-40, then managed to rally to 40-40 and claim the set with a forehand winner and an unforced error from Williams, which was one of many. Yes, winning the first set was crucial for Muguruza.
Her history on the court was 40-2 when she won first set and 8-15 when she lost it. As for Williams, she was 6-1 in major finals after winning the first set and only 1-7 when losing it. With all due credit to the lady of Spain, Williams did self-destruct with 25 unforced errors, only 17 winners, and 0-3 on point-break opportunities.
But Muguruza just picked up in the second set where she left off. She won a remarkable nine straight games to win in dominant style, becoming only the third woman in the Open era to clinch a Wimbledon title via a bagel.
As for the pregnant Serena Williams, she decided on shopping in London rather than attend the match. And with the result, apparently made the right choice. She is due around US Open time in September, but there’s no news on when she might return to the court.
As for Venus Williams’ career earnings, she will have to make good on a mini fine (for her) of $7,500 after being fined for skipping a mandatory television interview. It was said she failed to do a mandatory 1-on-1 post match TV interview after turning in a victory in the quarterfinals. She had also been fined $15,000 at the 2016 Australian Open for skipping the news conference after her first-round loss.
No matter, she said she intends to still take it to the bank by playing some more.
Note: Serena’s career winnings total $84.4 million.