Wimbledon Day 12, Women’s Final Preview: Serena Williams v Garbine Muguruza

MuguruzaOut of the four possible line-ups for the 2015 Wimbledon women’s final, there was only one that intrigued me… we gotttttt it! On Saturday, the world number one, Serena Williams will take on the world number 20 and first time Grand Slam finalist, Garbine Muguruza. By virtue of her performances this week, Muguruza will crack the world’s top ten for the first time in her career.

In the first of the women’s semi-finals, Muguruza defeated Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-2 3-6 6-3 in one hour and 56 minutes. For a time it looked like it would be a routine straight sets result but it blossomed into a really compelling match. Muguruza began in superb form and showing no signs of nerves. She played a near faultless first set to take it, 6-2. The Spaniard was aggressive from the baseline, dictated rallies and continued to look to close points at the net. Muguruza hit 12 winners to 6 unforced errors and looked completely secure, making very few errors. Muguruza’s defence was also impressive; she looked uncomfortable when pushed out wide on the backhand side but managed to stay in many of the rallies. Radwanska was very reactive and appeared to be trying to rally with Muguruza from the baseline, which was not working…

Muguruza went up an early break in the second set but the errors started to come as perhaps the finish line appeared in her mind. Radwanska also started to move Muguruza around the court with better shot placement and also, used more variety with some slices. Radwanska won six games on the trot to win the second set and go up an early break in the third set. Muguruza collapsed a little; she does have the tendency when things start going shaky to just start hitting harder and harder. She was beginning to look a little ragged and had some BAD misses at the start of the third set.

Muguruza broke Radwanska straight back at the start of the third set with a powerful game and then held a crucial service game at 2-2 which went to deuce. Muguruza continued to miss some sitters but she did really well to come out of that game with a hold. In the next game, the Spaniard started to settle and dominate once more, playing close to the level that she delivered in the first set. There were some magnificent points with both players throwing up some wonderful lobs.

Muguruza stepped up to serve for a place in the Wimbledon final at *5-3. There was enough in that final game to unsettle anyone, let alone a player serving for a first ever Grand Slam final…. Muguruza challenged a first serve on the first point which turned to be out. She hit a groundstroke MILES long on the first point. On the next point, Muguruza was called a foot fault on her first serve. The Spaniard kept it together but Radwanska played a majestic return at 30-30 to force a break point. As she has been doing all tournament, Muguruza continued to play the big points well. Muguruza saved two break points, getting a little lucky on the second one with a tame second serve (she had double faulted on the point before) and Radwanka’s return clipping the net and bouncing on her side.

The big, BIG talking point came on the next point. At deuce, one of Muguruza’s rally balls was close to being out and it appeared that Radwanska’s camp urged her to challenge. As she put her hand up to challenge, Muguruza smashed her shot LONGGGG. Aga stopped the point though and Hawkeye revealed that Muguruza’s shot had caught the line… cue angry look from Aga to her box. On her first match point, Muguruza delivered a big serve out wide and a drive volley to seal her place in the final.

I’ve always liked Garbine and it’s great to see her get this kind of exposure and for the tennis world to see her personality shine through. She seems like such a niceeeee person and is enchanting in interviews.

In the second of the semi-finals, Serena maintained her dominance with a 17th consecutive win over Maria Sharapova, 6-2 6-4. The alarm bells started ringing from the first game as Sharapova threw in three double faults in her first service game including one on break point. For this to be a competitive match, Maria HAD to play well and that didn’t happen unfortunately. Sharapova finished the match with a negative winners to unforced errors differential (9 to 13). Serena, not playing at her best, powered to the first set, 6-2, losing just six points on her serve. Sharapova put up more resistance in the second set, winning her first two service games. However, she never looked like staying with Serena despite fighting hard to win four games. Serena eventually won to progress into her eighth Wimbledon final and her first since 2012.

Of the three players left, Muguruza was the one I  felt who had the best chance of giving Serena a really tough match in the final. While she has had some issues closing out matches in the past, there is definitely a sense of belief and that she knows she belongs.

Serena leads the head-to-head against Garbine, 2-1. The Spaniard produced a magnificent performance at Roland Garros last year, winning 6-2 6-2 and going all the way to the quarters where she pushed Maria Sharapova to three sets. In their last match, Muguruza took a set off Williams at the Australian Open before falling in three very entertaining sets, 2-6 6-3 6-2.

When a player participates in their first Grand Slam final, it’s always an unknown quantity as to how they will respond mentally. Muguruza dealt with her nerves remarkably well in the semi-finals but there is another BIG step up between the semis and the final. I honestly believe that Garbine has a real shot in this final if she can start well and maintain a high percentage of first serves. However, it’s hard to ignore Serena in this one; she has the experience of playing all those Grand Slam finals and while there will be pressure with being the favourite, she’s dealt with it all through her career. Serena has lost just one match ALL YEAR and is 14-0 in three setters in 2015. Serena will be ready for the threat that Garbine poses and I don’t think she will underestimate her. While I think that Garbine will win a set and make this a very competitive final, i’m going for Serena…

Good match, ladies! I’m mega excited for this one 😀

Prediction: S.Williams d. Muguruza in 3 sets

Poll results: 74% of readers correctly predicted that Williams would beat Sharapova and 49% correctly predicted that Muguruza would beat Radwanska

32 thoughts on “Wimbledon Day 12, Women’s Final Preview: Serena Williams v Garbine Muguruza

  1. I feel very sorry for Aga and it’s a big fu** up by her camp for “challenge”. She was totally in that game and it could have gone either ways. Absolutely atrocious.

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      • She was 3-5 down, not 2-5, if she had broken Muguruza, they were going to be back on serve with Radwanska serving 4-5 down. I am not saying Aga would have won but at least the match would have been more interesting.

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      • That moment was a real toss up. But I also feel anything could have happened had the game gone on. One should consider how Radwanska came back from a hammering in the second set. In her pressers, Garbine always admits to the nerves she was experiencing during the match, but often times because of her overbearing strength it gives the appearance of seeming calm to spectators.
        Anyway, it’s Aga’s affable disposition, it draws your sympathy, but even she has said several times she whole heartedly embraces her game and its supposed weaknesses. To be honest, she was hanging in there, biding her time, that way, you’re never the one really in control and can only hope the tide swings your way. Great performance from her given the ‘crappy’ start to her year.

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    • I agree. I know many people think this is Serena’s final. I think this match is closer than we think. Based on the stats, Garbine actually outplayed Serena virtually. I have a bad feeling that this could be a surprised upset . It will be closed anyway.

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      • Based on which stats?
        I agree it could be close. But Muguruza is definitely going to have trouble closing a Slam out against Serena and you can’t afford to do that against someone like Serena.

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  2. Who knows what dreams may come. It will be history with Williams or maybe a novelty and first love with Muguruza. But for me it will be pimms, strawberries and cream and hopefully some good lawn tennis. At such times it is the grass I feel sorry for. These girls don’t play mind games or try to finesse for the crowds, it will be mano a mano, we’ll see who blinks first.

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  3. Serena against Sharapova was one of her less impressive performances this tournament. She said it was nerves though I think she knew she didn’t need her first gear. I have this feeling she’ll come out in REALLY dominant form for this final. She hasn’t felt as frantic this week as the second weeks in Australia or France. Grass suits her so much. And it’s a surface where experience really benefits you.

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    • I think that, too. But you never know if and how nerves will play a role. I think everyone talking about the Serena Slam let alone the calendar slam puts her under more pressure than she wants to admit. And Garbine has played fearless tennis this fortnight. However the outcome, I will be happy with both of the winners. On the one hand, Garbine has played great, watcheable tennis and has shown so much joy. On the other hand, I’d be happy with Serena winning because I really wanna see IF she can do it (the calendar slam) at the US Open!

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  4. Tough one. Since the beginning of the tournament, I felt like only one person could beat Serena and that was Vika (who proved again that she is definitely a tough opponent for Williams – but that was not enough…).

    Garbine has showed an amazing tennis and fighting spirit against great players. She is very strong and hits hard and I actually think she might bring some troubles to Serena. Muguruza has nothing to lose but will probably have some difficulties with dealing with the pressure of a final… Serena will also be more determined that ever…

    As I really do not appreciate anything about Serena’s game, I will be 100% on Garbine’s side. Also because I want fresh blood, a new winner. Also because as a huge Steffi’s fan, I’m just going to be selfish and will be protective of Steffi’s 22 slams and the ’88 golden slam. Garbine all the way!

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    • Why even mention Serena’s name in your mouth if you don’t like her game. You’re a hater and knows nothing about tennis. Serena has the best serve and backhand in the game.

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      • Serena is best in every department. FH, BH and serve.

        Frankly speaking, these players don’t even know us personally. Some fans just act crazy to hate someone. I don’t hate them so long as I make some money from them, I can be very happy to be their fans should they willing to accept my friendship. I went to watch Serena matches so many times, taken a few photos with her. I don’t think she could remember me either.

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      • This is so funny, just because I don’t like Serena, doesn’t mean that I am a “hater” or know nothing about tennis. Grow up. Anyway.

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    • I like what Chris Evert has always said about Graf’s 22 slams – “if somebody had stabbed Martina, I would have won many more too”.

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      • Frankly speaking, Chrissy is a sour grape. She is full of Sh*T all the time. What about if she got stabbed, Martina would have won more than anyone. Alternatively, if Seles had not been stabbed, Graft won’t be able to win 22 grand slams. If Serena played well in the other grand slam finals, she would have surpassed Margaret Court now. Come on..IF!

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      • I find that seriously horrible to say, I didn’t know she said that! I find this disrespectful to both Seles and Graf! Besides, it means nothing. Maybe Graf would have won anyway. Mabye Seles would have won something like 30 GS in her career and no one would speak about Serena. We will never know. The only truth about that story is that Seles’ career was destroyed because she was stabbed. They shouldn’t joke about that in my opinion!

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  5. Serena Williams to win her 21st Grand Slam title,I picked Serena before the tournament started to win,even though I am delighted that Garbine has made the final,the experience of Serena in a Grand Slam final will prove to be too strong for Garbine.Serena is chasing Grand Slam history and I truly believe as long as she is fit and well,we all know her will,focus to win,she will past Steffi,another player who I admire,also I feel if Serena keeps playing,she will pass Margaret Court’s 24 GS singles titles or even tie with Court..Keeping in the present good luck to both Serena and Garbine,hoping it is a competitive final.

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    • Some people say that once Serena reaches the same record as Steffi, she will start her farewell tour but I don’t believe that. I agree that if she is healthy, she will keep going, why would she stop ? She still has the success and the fun for it, so I definitely only see injuries to perhaps keep her away. I still hope for the day a player is able to compete with her and threaten her whole domination on the females tour.

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    • I hope you are right. I do want Serena to break those records. I fear the final will very competitive. Please do not underestimate Garbine. She can trouble Serena. Not to mention that she is better and more experiences now than she played in AO 2015. I think it will be a closed two sets or three sets. My heart says three sets.

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  6. I’m having some serious 2011 flashbacks here…21 y.o. big hitter that has had some very decent result in slams and on the tour before makes first grand slam final against an opponent that is the big favourite to win. If Petra could do it then, why not Garbiñe now?

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  7. Serena is the greatest player of all time, hands down. Steffi Graf wasn’t even the best player of her generation, Monica Seles was. Had a crazed Graf fan not stabbed Seles, Graf would have ended with grand slam titles in the mid teen’s, not 22. Garbine will take a set and hopefully keep this competitive but Serena will overpower her in the third.

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  8. Congratulations Serena (Serena Slam) on your 6th Wimbledon title and your 21st Grand Slam Title.
    I would also like to congratulate Garbine on her first Grand Slam appearance,she can hold her head high,considering grass has not been her best surface,she showed she has adapted her game well at the 2 weeks at Wimbledon,she showed no nerves,kept to her game plan.Well done Garbine!

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    • Exactly, pushing 34 years old, the oldest Wimbledon champion! Dannit! I don’t have the words, but you said Margaret, the 21st title. How about a Golden Slam now ?! Possible, Yes!!

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      • It would be a brave person to go against Serena on her home court at the USO:) will be witnessing tennis history,as tennis fans I can’t wait for the USO:)

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  9. Garbine is a real deal. Her nerves got to her during the match, so did Serena. Both played well and overall it was a great match.

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