Garbine Muguruza is the 2017 Wimbledon champion after an impressive performance against Venus Williams in the final on Saturday afternoon. It is just the Spaniard’s fourth title at the top level of tennis, with two WTA Tour titles in addition to her French Open title of last year. It was a close match to begin with but Muguruza reeled off the last 9 games of the match to win 7-5 6-0 in a final that promised so much. Failing to defend her title had saw her drop to 15 in the rankings from 5 but she sees herself bounce right back up to No.5 on Monday when the rankings come out.
The pressure of being a grand slam champion looked to have impacted Muguruza in her defence of the title she won in Paris last year as she was eventually bundled out by Kristina Mladenovic. With that weight off her shoulders, her pre-Wimbledon grass season was up and down. She made the semi finals of Birmingham before one of the most disastrous results possible in Eastbourne, losing 0 and 1 to Barbara Strycova. She looked far from a Wimbledon champion, even with her previous 2015 final run in the books.
What she has shown in the last fortnight has been a remarkable improvement, some of which can be chalked up to her partnership with Conchita Martinez who won Wimbledon in 1994. Between her and absent coach Sam Sumyk, they have helped boost the confidence of a player who has shown an extremely high level of tennis on her best days. The fighting spirit that helped her through an epic encounter against Angelique Kerber on Manic Monday was on display again here when she found herself down 15-40 on serve, attempting to stay in the first set. A lengthy rally was ended with a Venus forehand into the net and that provided impetus for Muguruza to push on and never look back. It was the first in a string of 9 straight games as a potential thriller petered out in the worst way as Venus began to struggle. “You can’t make them. I went for some big shots and they didn’t land. Probably have to make less errors.” Venus said.
The American had the upper hand in the opening few games and was consistently drawing errors off the Muguruza forehand but she couldn’t break through. Once those errors fell off, Muguruza began to dictate play more with Venus showing signs of tiredness. She hit 25 unforced errors, the second highest total she put up all tournament. The second set went away very quickly to the disappointment of much of the crowd with Venus only seeing a game point in her first game and never getting close otherwise. The match did end on a hawkeye decision rather anticlimactically but Garbine will not mind one bit when it comes to how she won her second grand slam title. ““I knew she was going to make me suffer and fight for it. When I had those set points against me, I’m like, ‘Hey, it’s normal. I’m playing Venus here’. So I just kept fighting. And I knew that if I was playing like I was playing during the two weeks, I was going to have eventually an opportunity. So I was calm. If I lose the first set I still have two more, let’s not make a drama.” Muguruza said.
Will it be the last time we see Venus in a slam final? She isn’t writing herself off. ““I’m in good form, I’ve been in a position a lot of times this year to contend for big titles. That’s the kind of position I want to keep putting myself in. It’s just about getting over the line. I believe I can do that.”