It was the 23-year-old’s second Wimbledon final, having lost to Venus’s sister Serena on the same stage in 2015, and her legs gave way as she fell to the ground after the decision was relayed on Centre Court’s giant scoreboards.
Garbine Muguruza crushed 37-year-old Venus Williams’ hope of winning a sixth title at Wimbledon with a 7-5, 6-0 win.
Venus Williams of the USA returns to Garbine Muguruza of Spain in the women’s final of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, in London, Britain, 15 July 2017.
In 2012 she scored her first win against a top-10 player (Vera Zvonareva) in Miami in her second WTA main draw match.
A first grand slam title did come her way in 2016, though, as she got some revenge on Serena by lifting the French Open at the American’s expense. “I remember here you said, ‘If you’re hurt, you don’t play, and if you play, you’re not hurt.’ Everybody in the media was wondering whether your Sjogren’s came into effect at the end, or if just the matches day after day and your age caught up with you?”
“I’m just very surprised that she’s hungry to keep winning”.
It was then her turn to go on the offensive. On the second set point, Muguruza held with a gargantuan serve; then Williams sent a return long and Muguruza pumped her fist.
“When I had those set points against me, I’m like, ‘Hey, it’s normal. So I definitely want to be the one who takes the big one”, said the No14 seed. But Muguruza showed she would not be overwhelmed, returning a serve at 113 miles per hour on the match’s second point, and another at 114 miles per hour in the third game – then winning both ensuing exchanges. “She just dug in there”.
“For me it was a challenge to have her, growing up watching her play”. At one point, it looked as if she might cry. “I don’t think she was prepared for it two years ago like she is today”. She was congratulated by fellow Spaniards Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario and Manuel Santana – legends in their own right – and her victory speech paid tribute to Venus.
Williams hit five double-faults, three in one game and once to get broken to begin the second set.
Suddenly the match turned at 5-4 15-40 with Williams holding two break points.
Catching herself – because there’s no absolute guarantee Federer will prevail in his bid for a record eighth championship over Marin Cilic – Muguruza quickly added: “I like Cilic”.
Asked during the on-court trophy presentation if she had a message for Serena, who is off the tour while expecting a baby, Venus said: “Oh, I miss you”. I feel good.’ During the tournament, I was feeling better and better.
“It’s great to go out there and play somebody that you admire”, Muguruza said. If I lose the first the set, I still have two more. It took me a while actually to calm down, to say, Hey, it’s grass, you have to adapt to the surface. I still can’t even believe it.
Knowing the Muguruza we’ve seen over the past two weeks, we ought not to have been so complacent.