The Ladies Singles event at Wimbledon may have been missing the defending champion but that hasn’t stopped it from being a very entertaining tournament with a fitting final between two of the top offensive players in the game. Venus Williams seeks her sixth Wimbledon title and her eighth overall while Garbine Muguruza can get her second slam after last year’s French Open. Having lost in straight sets to her sister two years again, Garbine will be hoping for a much better time against Venus on Saturday afternoon.
Muguruza has a curious record at slams in general, seemingly stepping it up a gear at the big events. If she were to win on Saturday, it would be her second slam title – actually matching the number of standard WTA Tour titles she has. It’s an indicator that she is a big match player – almost in the vein of Stanislas Wawrinka on the ATP tour. Another case in point would be that her three wins over the World No.1 at that time all came at slams, although the most recent one was against Angelique Kerber this fortnight. That win over the German was one of the matches of the tournament, with her late flurry sealing the win 6-4 in the third. That gave her the confidence to go on and drop just 9 games in the last 2 matches – including only 2 against Magdalena Rybarikova in the semi finals. Class told as Rybarikova could not get into the match. Muguruza hit 22 winners and broke 4 times overall to win in just over an hour.
Muguruza’s coach Sam Sumyk has been absent from the tournament so she has been working with Conchita Martinez, the only Spanish woman to have won a Wimbledon singles title. It appears to have been working wonders for her as she looks high on confidence. “I think she’s helping me to deal with the stress of the tournament, because it’s a long tournament. I’ve been here already since a while. So she just knows, you know, how to prepare, how to train, what to do. Not that I’m doing something different, honestly. To have her by my side gives me also this little confident on having someone that has won before.” Muguruza said.
The home crowd on Centre Court went home disappointed with their star Johanna Konta departing at the semi final stage but not before an excellent performance from Venus made it so. From 4-4 and break points down, she showed incredible resolve to take control of the match. She had found it easy against young power hitters in the previous rounds but Konta offered a different type of test, one that Venus was still able to ace. Breaking for the first set, she also picked up an early break in the second and was never really challenged from then on in an excellent second set. “I didn’t really know what to expect because the first set was so well-contested. I didn’t know what was going to happen except that I was going to try to make the gap bigger. The gap did get bigger. That was better luck for me today.” she said.
Venus has been deadly efficient over the past few rounds, keeping it tight on serve and taking her chances when on offer. Muguruza looks far improved from her grass performances at Birmingham, where she lost to Ashleigh Barty. The Spaniard knows that any let up in her game will be punished and as shown in the semi final against Konta, there won’t be much room for error. Venus is 3-1 against Muguruza with the only loss coming on the Rome clay this year, her least favoured surface.
What would it mean for Muguruza to win her second title? “For the last years, you see a lot of Williams surname [on the list of winners]. So I look forward to just have it there. I don’t know, to put a Spanish name back there.” Venus meanwhile will hope that the Williams name gets printed by 2017 for the third year running.
Prediction – Venus Williams in three sets