11 Jul 2015

Muguruza faces Serena Slam

6:41 pm on 11 July 2015

Serena Williams feels battle-hardened and ready to add a sixth Wimbledon crown to her grand slam collection with victory in her eighth final at the All England Club.

The world number one faces Spanish surprise packet Garbine Muguruza, a first-time grand slam finalist, and says her torrid early-round comeback wins over Victoria Azarenka and Heather Watson have her primed for the title match.

Serena Williams, Wimbledon quarterfinals, 2015.

Serena Williams, Wimbledon quarterfinals, 2015. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

"Like I always say, I would prefer to have an easier match. But when you have a tough match and you're able to come through, obviously that really helps," Williams said after a crushing Maria Sharapova 6-2 6-4 in a semi-final cruise.

The winner of 38 out of 39 outings in 2015, Williams has more tennis history at her mercy against Muguruza, a 6-2 3-6 6-3 semi-final victor over Polish 13th seed Agnieszka Radwanska.

The American can complete another "Serena Slam" by holding all four major trophies for the second time, a feat the ageless champion last achieved 12 years ago.

But the topic - as well as the chance to also be the first woman since Steffi Graf in 1988 to secure a calendar-year sweep of tennis's four majors - has been off limits since before the championships.

"I don't what the pressure of that, and I'm not thinking of that," Williams maintained after continuing her 11-year mastery of Sharapova.

The all-conquering top seed also enters her 25th grand slam final seeking a 21st major title to close to within one of Graf's open-era benchmark 22 singles slams.

Standing in her way is the Venezuela-born, Barcelona-raised Muguruza, the world number 20 who upended Williams in last year's French Open.

Garbine Muguruza in her Wimbledon semi-final victory, 2015.

Garbine Muguruza in her Wimbledon semi-final victory, 2015. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

It was a chastening defeat that motivated Williams to get even better and the 33-year-old has since embarked on a 27-match grand slam winning streak.

"It was an eye-opening loss for me," said the reigning US, Australian and French Open champion.

"Some losses you're angry about and some losses you learn from. That loss I think I learned the most from in a long time.

"I got so much better after that loss. I was able to improve a lot. I worked on things.

"I didn't see the results straightaway. But months later I started seeing the results more and more.

"I don't want to lose to anyone at a grand slam."


2015 Australian Open, R16, hard, Williams 2-6 6-3 6-2

2014 French Open, R64, clay, Muguruza 6-2 6-2

2013 Australian Open, R64, hard, Williams 6-2 6-0


Age: 33 Born: Saginaw, Michigan, USA

Lives: Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA

Height: 175cm

Weight: 70kg

Ranking: 1

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US69,676,428 ($A93.85 million)

Career titles: 66

Career win-loss record: 715-121

Grand slam titles: 20 (Australian Open 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009-10, 2015; French Open 2002, 2013, 2015; Wimbledon 2002-03, 2009-10, 2012; US Open 1999, 2002, 2008, 2012-2014)

Grand slam win-loss record: 189-28

Wimbledon win-loss record: 78-10

Best Wimbledon performances: champion 2002-03, 2009-10, 2012


1st rd: bt Margarita Gaspariyan (RUS) 6-4 6-1

2nd rd: bt Timea Babos (HUN) 6-4 6-1

3rd rd: bt Heather Watson (GBR) 6-2 4-6 7-5

4th rd: bt 16-Venus Williams (USA) 6-4 6-3

QF: bt 23-Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 3-6 6-2 6-3

SF: bt 4-Maria Sharapova (RUS) 6-2 6-4


Age: 21

Born: Caracas, Venezuela

Lives: Barcelona, Spain

Height: 182cm

Weight: 73kg

Ranking: 20

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US2,543,146 ($A3.43 million)

Career titles: 1

Career win-loss record: 221-109

Grand slam titles: 0

Grand slam win-loss record: 23-10

Wimbledon win-loss record: 7-2

Best Wimbledon performances: finalist 2015


1st rd: bt Varvara Lepchencko (USA) 6-4 6-1

2nd rd: bt Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO) 6-3 4-6 6-2

3rd rd: bt 10-Angelique Kerber (GER) 7-6 1-6 6-2

4th rd: bt 5-Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 6-4 6-4

QF: bt 15-Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) 7-5 6-3

SF: bt 13-Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 6-2 3-6 6-3