“I used to dream about it and now it’s happening. I know what I have to do”, said the 20th seed. It’s the best. Now I’m feeling that all my effort, all the work that I did before, it’s paying off.
In referring to Forbes’ annual highest-paid athlete list, a Think Progress report points out the fact that Sharapova earned $24.4 million, almost $2.5 million more than Williams’s $22 million in 2014.
Williams rolled her eyes.
Given Serena’s longevity and the experience that comes with it, there is a possibility that this final will be a one-sided affair.
From a set and 3-1 ahead, Muguruza dropped six successive games, direction on her hard-hitting becoming haphazard and Radwanska becoming more solid, encouraged by sudden fallibility across the net.
What does she need to do to close the gap?
It was at Wimbledon where the roots of their rivalry took hold in 2004 when Sharapova, then aged just 17, shocked Serena in the final. “I have to be focused to do it every match”.
Standing in her way is Saturday’s final opponent Garbine Muguruza, a 21-year-old from Spain who defeated Serena at last year’s French Open, but fell to her in this year’s Australian. She’s got the hard, flat strokes to stay in a baseline smack-off, but she also has that unteachable, intuitive ability to change angles and build points. She cut offs questions that even mention the phrase-it’s become a running joke in press conferences as reporters try and work around her ban-while also insisting that she has nothing prove to anyone.
“I know that that’s what keeps me going forward”. “I’m excited to get through”, said Williams, who didn’t allow Sharapova a single break point.
Michigan-born Williams hailed a dramatic third-round victory over Britain’s Heather Watson as crucial to the mounting self-belief that could well propel her across that calendar slam line. When I play good, I love this surface.
“She’s world number one for a reason”.
“I don’t have words to explain it”, she said.
“Some losses you’re raging about and some losses you learn from”, said Williams. Far from it. She has beaten Williams once, at the 2014 French Open, and, as far as Muguruza is concerned, facing the greatest player of her generation on the grandest stage of them all is just another chapter in this Cinderella story of hers. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the final here”. I worked on things.
Only two weeks ago, Muguruza lost to Britain’s Jo Konta in the third round at Eastbourne, and she had never gone beyond the quarter-finals of a grand slam before.
Asked what she needs to do to be competitive against Williams, Sharapova responded: A lot more than Im doing..
Like numerous younger players, Muguruza cites Williams as her inspiration. So this time I have to just go in it, have fun and do the best that I can.
“I think is the best final you can play”. I am kind of in awe of her right now. So she’ll be fine.
“She didn’t beat me and then lose”, she said. “She knows what to do”.
In the opening game, Sharapova double-faulted three times and got broken.
Muguruza may not have the fastest serve, but she’s tall enough to vary the placement and pace. “Obviously it hasn’t happened for me”.
Was that an attempt to take some of the pressure off herself?
“But I expect myself to be a champion of these events”.
But for Williams, any latent frustrations are surely exorcised by the total dominance of these now-17 consecutive victories against Sharapova.
The No. 2-seeded Federer is closing in on his record eighth trophy at the grass-court tournament; No. 3 Murray’s 2013 championship was the first for a British man at Wimbledon in 77 years.