Wimbledon Final: (1) Serena Williams vs (20) Garbine Muguruza
Then there were two. Serena Williams and Garbine Muguruza. A 5-time former champion at SW19 up against a first-time Grand Slam finalist. The current world number 1 up against the WTA’s next big thing. This promises to be a fascinating final between two of the biggest hitters on tour, Garbine is one of very few ladies who has the ability to overpower the 20-time Grand Slam Champion.
Serena and Garbine both enter this match full of confidence, having beaten numerous quality opponents on route to the final. Both fully deserve their spot in Saturday’s final.
Serena Williams’ route to the final has been particularly difficult. Serena came extremely close to a third round exit, coming from a double break down in the deciding set to defeat Heather Watson in front of a rowdy British crowd. Serena then overcame two of her toughest ever opponents, defeating Venus Williams in two tight sets, before coming from a set down to defeat a determined Victoria Azarenka in what was one of the highest quality matches of the tournament.
Serena secured her spot in final with a comprehensive 6-2 6-4 victory over Maria Sharapova, the American’s 17th consecutive victory over Maria, her 6th consecutive straight set victory over Maria. Serena dominated from start to finish, breaking in the very first game of the match. Serena never looked back, the American never faced a break point and never really looked like being challenged by Maria.
Garbine Muguruza has surpassed all expectations at SW19. Prior to this event, the Spaniard had never fared too well on grass, her ability to compete with the best on grass was questionable, even Garbine herself doubted her abilities on grass. All that has changed, Garbine has now proved that she is dangerous on every surface, including grass.
After defeating Varvara Lepchenko and Mirjana Lucic Baroni in the opening rounds, Garbine has overcome four competent, seeded counter punchers in a row. Garbine upstaged Angelique Kerber in a classic third round encounter before sailing past Caroline Wozniacki and Timea Bacsinszky in straight sets.
The Spaniard cemented her spot in a first career Grand Slam final with an impressive 6-2 3-6 6-3 victory over the experienced Radwanska. Garbine came out firing, thumping her way past Radwanska in the opening set. Garbine then found herself up 3-1 in the seconds set, that’s where the nerves kicked in, Garbine’s footwork went missing and some loose play allowed Radwanska to seize momentum and force a deciding set.
Radwanska seemed to be on top in the early stages of the third set, Muguruza looked defeated. However Garbine showed just what she is made of, raising her level at the end of the set, needing just one break of serve to separate herself from Radwanska. Garbine served very well under pressure, one of the biggest keys to her victory over the Pole. Garbine overcame some nervy moments, saving multiple break points to serve out the match on her very first attempt.
Serena Williams holds a 2-1 head to head record over Garbine Muguruza. Garbine is already one of Serena’s biggest rivals. Garbine has shown that she has the game and the composure to trouble Serena. The Spaniard stunned Serena at Roland Garros last year, thumping the defending champion 6-2 6-2 in the second round, one of Serena’s heaviest ever defeats at a Grand Slam.
Serena avenged that loss with a 2-6 6-3 6-2 victory in the fourth round of the Australian Open earlier this year. However that match also showed the problems Garbine can cause Serena. Garbine played stunning tennis in the first set, forcing Serena to raise her level and come up with some of her very best tennis to keep her Australian Open campaign alive in what was a high quality encounter.
This will be the first meeting between the pair on a grass court, I suspect this surface will heavily favour Serena. Granted, Garbine has had a marvellous run to the final, however her big victories have all been against counter punchers, I’m not sure she will fare so well against the powerful world number 1 on the quickest surface.
Everything points to a Williams victory. The world number 1 is in ominous form having defeated three of her biggest rivals on route to the final. Serena is infinitely more experienced and usually plays her best tennis at this stage of a Grand Slam. It’s going to take an almighty effort from Garbine Muguruza to cause an upset.
Prediction: Serena Williams to defeat Garbine Muguruza in 2 sets