Muguruza stuns Venus to win first Wim­ble­don crown

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LON­DON: Gar­bine Muguruza stormed to her first Wim­ble­don ti­tle and shat­tered Venus Wil­liams’ his­tory bid with a ma­jes­tic 7-5, 6-0 vic­tory in yes­ter­day’s fi­nal. Muguruza over­whelmed Wil­liams with a supreme dis­play of power hit­ting in 77 min­utes on Cen­tre Court to be­come only the sec­ond Span­ish woman to win Wim­ble­don.

Watched from the Royal Box by King Juan Car­los of Spain, the 23-year-old fi­nally got her hands on the Venus Rose­wa­ter Dish two years af­ter los­ing to the Amer­i­can’s sis­ter Ser­ena in her maiden Wim­ble­don fi­nal. Fit­tingly, it was Muguruza’s cur­rent coach Con­chita Martinez who was the first woman to raise the Span­ish flag at Wim­ble­don in 1994 when she de­feated Martina Navratilova.

Venezuela-born Muguruza’s sec­ond Grand Slam ti­tle, fol­low­ing her French Open tri­umph last year, de­nied Wil­liams, 37, in her at­tempt to be­come the old­est Wim­ble­don cham­pion in the Open era.

Back in the Wim­ble­don fi­nal af­ter an eightyear ab­sence, Wil­liams had hoped to clinch a sixth All Eng­land ti­tle, nine years af­ter she last lifted the tro­phy. In­stead, she paid the price for a sur­pris­ingly nerve-rid­den dis­play that con­demned her to a sec­ond Grand Slam dis­ap­point­ment this year fol­low­ing her Aus­tralian Open fi­nal loss against Ser­ena.

Since win­ning her maiden Grand Slam ti­tle in Paris, Muguruza had en­dured some­thing of a sopho­more slump as her rank­ing dropped out of the top 10. But she has re­dis­cov­ered her mojo on grass and will climb to fifth when the new rank­ings are con­firmed next week.

Re­mark­ably, of her four tour-level ti­tles, two are now Grand Slams. With per­sis­tent driz­zle blan­ket­ing the All Eng­land Club, Wil­liams and Muguruza were com­pet­ing in the first Wim­ble­don fi­nal to be­gin un­der the roof, watched by a sell-out crowd in­clud­ing Hol­ly­wood ac­tress Hi­lary Swank.

Twenty years ago, Venus admitted she was a bun­dle of nerves when she made a los­ing Wim­ble­don de­but against Mag­dalena Grzy­bowska and, in her ninth All Eng­land Club fi­nal, once again there was anx­i­ety cours­ing through the Amer­i­can’s er­ror-strewn dis­play.

BAR­RAGE

For­ti­fied by a cross-court win­ner to bring up break point at 3-2, Wil­liams looked poised to seize con­trol, but in­stead a tame fore­hand into the net to let Muguruza off the hook.

It was the first of a se­ries of vi­tal es­capes for Muguruza, who was match­ing Venus blow for blow in a se­ries of bruis­ing base­line ral­lies.

Gifted two set point at 4-5, Venus couldn’t de­liver the knock­out blow and Muguruza over-pow­ered her in a grip­ping rally to save the first be­fore scram­bling out of trou­ble on the sec­ond. Muguruza had the mo­men­tum now, her pierc­ing ground-strokes grad­u­ally mov­ing Wil­liams into enough awk­ward ar­eas to land the cru­cial first break at 5-5.

Wil­liams was rat­tled by Muguruza’s bar­rage, fa­tally al­low­ing the Spa­niard’s lob to drop in and present her with set points that she glee­fully gob­bled up. Muguruza was just six when Venus first won Wim­ble­don and the 23-year-old’s third ma­jor fi­nal ap­pear­ance was dwarfed by Wil­liams’ 16 Grand Slam ti­tle matches.

But in all those fi­nals, only Ser­ena had pro­duced the lethal power and poise Muguruza was show­ing and sud­denly Wil­liams was be­gin­ning to look her age. Still reel­ing from the shock of los­ing the first set, she served up a limp dou­ble fault on break point to hand Muguruza the lead at the start of the sec­ond set. Wil­liams was shat­tered and Muguruza went for the kill so ruth­lessly that in the blink of an eye she had bro­ken twice more to take a 5-0 lead. Muguruza had spo­ken elo­quently this week of etch­ing her name onto the Wim­ble­don hon­ours board along­side Venus, Ser­ena and the other All Eng­land Club icons. It took one last bliz­zard of thun­der­ous win­ners to en­sure her dream would come true.

LON­DON: Spain’s Gar­bine Muguruza holds up The Venus Rose­wa­ter Dish as she cel­e­brates beat­ing US player Venus Wil­liams to win the women’s sin­gles fi­nal on the twelfth day of the 2017 Wim­ble­don Cham­pi­onships at The All Eng­land Lawn Ten­nis Club in Wim­ble­don, south­west Lon­don, yes­ter­day.

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