Wil­liams stays mum fol­low­ing vic­tory

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY HOWARD FEN­DRICH LON­DON

Her game in high gear, history in the off­ing, Ser­ena Wil­liams is per­fectly con­tent to let ev­ery­one else talk about what a vic­tory in the Wim­ble­don fi­nal would mean.

A “Ser­ena Slam” of four con­sec­u­tive ma­jor ti­tles. The third leg of a cal­en­dar-year Grand Slam. A 21st ma­jor sin­gles tro­phy, one short of the Open-era record.

For now, the No. 1-seeded Wil­liams is keep­ing her thoughts to her­self, declar­ing she won’t en­ter­tain ques­tions about those top­ics, even af­ter easily dis­miss­ing No. 4 Maria Shara­pova 6-2, 64 in the semi­fi­nals at the All Eng­land Club on Thurs­day to close in on the mile­stones.

“I don’t want the pres­sure of that, and I’m not think­ing of that. When you talk about it ev­ery time, you can’t help but think about it,” Wil­liams said. “It’s been OK just to free my brain from that.”

What­ever works. Clearly, Wil­liams is do­ing plenty right at the mo­ment. Par­tic­u­larly against Shara­pova, whom she’s beaten 17 times in a row.

Wil­liams hit 13 aces, reach­ing 123 mph. Fewer than half her serves were put in play. She never faced a break point, and was pushed to deuce just once on her serve. She had a 29-9 edge in win­ners.

In sum, Wil­liams made Shara- pova look like some sort of mid­dle-of-the-pack wannabe, rather than the five-time ma­jor cham­pion, ca­reer Grand Slam owner and for­mer No. 1 that she is.

“Noth­ing to do with Shara­pova,” said Wil­liams’ coach, Pa­trick Mouratoglou. “She does this to most of the top 10 play­ers. It’s true. She’s dom­i­nat­ing the game for a long time.”

Wil­liams beat her sis­ter Venus in the fourth round and another past No. 1 and mul­ti­ple ma­jor win­ner, Vic­to­ria Azarenka, in the quar­ter­fi­nals.

On Satur­day, with so much at stake, Wil­liams will face No. 20 Gar­bine Mugu­ruza of Spain, who ad­vanced to her first Grand Slam fi­nal by elim­i­nat­ing No. 13 Ag­nieszka Rad­wan­ska of Poland 62, 3-6, 6-3.

“If you want to win a Grand Slam, when you dream, you say, ’I want Ser­ena in the fi­nal,”’ the 21-year-old Mugu­ruza said. “She’s like one of the best play­ers in all these years.”

Five women have won four con­sec­u­tive Grand Slam tour­na­ments — and Wil­liams al­ready is among that group, hav­ing done it from 2002-03. Only three have pulled off a true Grand Slam, win­ning all four ma­jors in a sin­gle sea­son; St­effi Graf was the last, in 1988.

If Wil­liams can beat Mugu­ruza, the 33-year-old Amer­i­can would head to the U.S. Open in Au­gust with a shot at that feat.

Un­der a cloud­less sky at Cen­tre Court on Thurs­day, it was quickly clear Wil­liams’ semi­fi­nal wouldn’t last long. At age 17, Shara­pova beat Wil­liams twice in 2004, in­clud­ing in the Wim­ble­don fi­nal — and hasn’t de­feated her since.

Wil­liams

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