To complete the “Serena slam” of four consecutive majors for a second time, she will play Garbine Muguruza, a Spanish upstart with a big serve and nothing to lose, in the Wimbledon final Saturday.
Thursday’s 6-2, 6-4 loss to the world number one in the Wimbledon semi-finals was her 17th in succession and 18th overall at the hands of the American.
Serena Williams has admitted she owes her calendar Grand Slam bid to Garbine Muguruza, the woman blocking her path to both that very target and a sixth Wimbledon title.
Maria Sharapova of Russian Federation wipes her face during the women’s singles semifinal match against Serena Williams of the United States at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Thursday July 9, 2015.
Muguruza’s tense three-set win over Polish 13 seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the last four made her the first Spanish woman to reach the Wimbledon final since Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in 1996. At age 17, Sharapova beat Williams twice in 2004, including in the Wimbledon final – and hasn’t defeated her since.
Serena Williams’ rather easy and one-sided win in the semifinal match against Maria Sharapova was not surprising.
Standing in the world number one’s way is 21-year-old Muguruza, the 20th seed who is in her first Grand Slam final.
Playing for the Wimbledon title is going to be a different challenge.
Williams cites that result as the shock to the system which has spurred her remarkable title-winning run since, but Muguruza sees it another way, and considers it still relevant ahead of their Centre Court reunion. Standing 6ft tall, she is a powerful ball-striker who enjoys playing on all surfaces. She broke serve out of the gate and finished the set in 33 minutes with a backhand approach victor from off the ground.
Meanwhile, it was reported that Williams never won all four Grand Slams in one year, but she got victories in the Australian and French Opens.
“They’re going to be in Barcelona watching me from the TV”, she said. I was so desperate to do it. Williams has won 34 of her last 37 sets against Sharapova over the last 11 years. “You have to try to be more constant, you know”.
The spotlight is nothing new for Serena, though, who has been the center of attention since her and her sister Venus burst onto the scene at the turn of the century. “A lot of things that make her a great player“. Muguruza had a tactic that she applied perfectly and she played the best match of her career probably that day. The only time she reached a major final in the category was at the 2011 French Open. I didn’t see the results straightaway.
Her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, gave a glowing scouting report on Muguruza. Williams was happy with her performance – so rare early at a grand slam – as she crushed Babos with relative ease. “Against her, you have to be able not to just produce your best tennis, but more”, Sharapova said about her loss to Williams, Wall Street Journal reported.
That’s because that match should move quickly, provide good shotmaking and allow them to get on with the show, with the next players on court a pairing to drive the British crowd to an emotional crossroads.