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Garbine Muguruza's dominance denies Venus in Wimbledon final

July 15, 2017 8:10 PM
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Garbine Muguruza's dominance denies Venus in Wimbledon final

LONDON -- The normally silent laptop keyboards lining the tables of the media section on Centre Court suddenly began clicking and clacking.

The stories of Venus Williams' remarkable return to the pinnacle of Wimbledon at 37 years old were coming together for writers who presumed they were watching history.

Williams had a 5-4 lead on Garbine Muguruza in the first set and looked destined to wrap it up, holding a 40-15 lead in the 10th game. If she had just won the next point, or even the one after that, she would have been one set away from becoming the oldest Wimbledon champion of the Open era. But that point, or the form she had up until that period of the match, would never materialize.

Muguruza had won just 23 percent of her games when facing a double break point, and Williams had won 75 percent of her games during a break point opportunity, but back-to-back forehand unforced errors tied the game 40-40. Muguruza would then claim the first set thanks to a forehand winner and another unforced error from the veteran.

"I definitely would have loved to have converted some of those points," Williams said. "But she competed really well so credit to her. She just dug in there and managed to play better."

Suddenly Williams looked every bit her age, and Muguruza, who was just more than a year old when Venus turned pro in 1994, looked like the 23-year-old future star she was predicted to be after she beat Serena Williams to win the French Open last year.

"I was expecting the best Venus because I saw her and she was playing very good," Muguruza said. "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. I knew that if I was playing like I was playing during the two weeks, I was going to eventually have an opportunity. So I was calm. If I lose the first set, I still have two more. Let's not make drama."

Of course, Muguruza can say that now, but history wouldn't have been on her side had she dropped the first set. In the past 10 Wimbledon women's finals, the winner of the first set has gone on to win the match. The outcome was the same for 40 of the past 43 major women's finals, too. From an individual standpoint, Muguruza was 40-2 in her major career after winning the first set compared to 8-15 when she lost it. Meanwhile, Williams was 6-1 in major finals after winning the first set and just 1-7 in major finals after dropping it.

Williams essentially lost the match when she self-destructed at the end of the first and has only herself to blame when she analyzes her performance. She committed 25 unforced errors overall and hit just 17 winners in the match and was also 0-3 on break point opportunities, while Muguruza was able to break Williams' serve four times.

Muguruza would not only come back to win that 10th game, but she also won the set 7-5 and then bageled Williams in the second set 6-0, taking a remarkable nine straight games en route to winning her first Wimbledon title in dominant fashion. She is just the third woman in the Open era to clinch a Wimbledon title with a 6-0 set.

"I just felt good," Muguruza said. "I won the first set. I wanted it to go my way as fast as possible, just not get too complicated. But I know it's hard. I'm happy that it happened. I played very well since the first game, and I kept the level, which is very hard because, you know, you're, like, nervous. You see you're winning. You say, 'Oh, maybe I'll win.' I was just very composed."

It was also the first time Williams had ever dropped a set 6-0 at Wimbledon, and Muguruza, who grew up watching and admiring the Williams sisters, became the first person to beat both Venus and Serena Williams in a Grand Slam final. As much as she loved watching them, the Spaniard simply smiled during her news conference when reminded that she had just routed the sentimental favorite at SW19.

It's hard to argue that tennis doesn't have a new name and new face to remember after the way she closed out Williams on Saturday.

Source: abcnews.go.com

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