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By Richard Pagliaro | Saturday, July 15, 2017

Garbine Muguruza

Garbiñe Muguruza saved two set points then rolled through nine straight games stomping Venus Williams, 7-5, 6-0 to win Wimbledon.

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Stress cast a shadow at Garbiñe Muguruza, who was staring down double set point against Venus Williams today.

Calmly confronting the first-set crisis, the 14th-seeded Muguruza clubbed through all concerns and one of the great grass-court champions to claim her second Grand Slam championship.

Watch: Coaching Works for Muguruza

Commanding the center of the court, Muguruza denied set points in the 10th game then charged through nine straight games blasting past Williams 7-5, 6-0, to capture her first Wimbledon championship.

Muguruza grew up looking up to the Williams sisters and has stared down the challenge of the sisters who had combined to win 12 of the prior 17 Wimbledon titles.

"She's an incredible player," Muguruza told ESPN's Tom Rinaldi afterward. "And I knewI was going to have my opportunities sooner or later and it was gonna be a rough match.

"I stayed composed. I mean its such a bomb of emotions. You dream of this. Once you make it a few people can do it and feel such a big accomplishment for me. So I was just crying with emotion."

An explosive match came to an anti-climactic end as Muguruza challenged Williams’ final shot then stood behind the baseline waiting to see the replay. When Hawk-Eye confirmed the ball missed the mark, Muguruza dropped to her knees sobbing tears of triumphant joy.

It capped a tournament in which Muguruza knocked off three experienced Grand Slam champions—world No. 1 Angelique Kerber, two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and seven-time major champion Venus. Muguruza will wake up on Monday as Wimbledon champion and new world No. 5.

The dynamic 77-minute triumph is the first grass-court championship of Muguruza’s career and her first title since she swept Serena Williams, 7-5, 6-4, to win Roland Garros 13 months ago.

The 23-year-old Muguruza joins her coach, 1994 Wimbledon winner Conchita Martinez, as the second Spanish women to win Wimbledon. A beaming Martinez raised her right arm in the support box showing the goose-bumps popping from her skin.

Contesting her second Grand Slam final of the season, the 37-year-old Williams’ bid to become the oldest woman to win a Grand Slam in the Open Era was snuffed out by an overpowering opponent. Still, Williams, who started the tournament breaking down in tears discussing the car crash she was involved in last month, showed great grace in defeat.

“Congratulations Garbine, amazing I know how hard you work and I’m sure this means so much to you and your family,” Williams said. “So well done today, beautiful.”

Contesting her second Wimbledon final, Muguruza played with power and precision shattering the five-time champion’s defense and resolve in a shutout second set.

The first Wimbledon women’s final contested beneath the closed Centre Court roof was a tight test for one set.

Wearing white earbuds as she walked behind Williams onto Centre Court, Muguruza won the coin toss and elected to receive—perhaps hoping to exploit early nerves and sneak out a break against one of the game’s premier servers.

Throwing down an ace to open, Williams was landing her first serve with menacing intent, winning 12 of the first 16 points played on her serve building a 3-2 lead.

The 2016 Roland Garros champion stayed in step, but double-faulted for 30-all in the sixth game.

Muguruza’s backhand down the line is her signature shot—one she struck beautifully beating Serena Williams in the French Open final. Venus anticipated it and rifled a forehand pass crosscourt for break point. Muguruza erased it when Williams, with an open expanse of court, slapped a forehand into the middle of the net. The Spaniard slid an ace out wide holding for 3-all when Williams sailed a forehand.

Dodging a break point with a deep second serve that Muguruza failed to return, Williams slugged her second ace withstanding the stress and stamping her 16th consecutive hold for 4-3.

Playing with kinesiology tape wrapping her left thigh, Muguruza was quick off the mark moving forward in streaking through her 23rd straight hold to level.

Targeting her opponent’s volatile forehand wing, Williams drew a netted forehand for double set point.

In a crackling 20-shot rally—the longest of the set—Muguruza skimmed the net with one forehand then ripped several vicious crosscourt forehands prevailing to save the first set point.

The Spaniard denied a second set point on a Williams error. Coach Conchita Martinez leaped from her seat applauding support as Muguruza stood tall for 5-all.

"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."

The two-time finalist was moving smoothly laterally and striking her forehand with more conviction in the 11th game. Williams stuck another forehand into net to face her second break point of the game. Crunching deep crosscourt drives, Muguruza banged out the break on a forehand error for her first lead at 6-5.

A sweeping running rainbow backhand lob—similar to the shot she hit to clinch the Roland Garros title—gave Muguruza two set points of her own.

Running and grunting with fierce desire, Muguruza coaxed a netted backhand grabbing the pulsating 51-minute opening set after staring down two set points.

Challenging a Williams serve that was incorrectly ruled an ace, Muguruza started the second set with her second break on Williams’ fourth double fault of the day.

That was an ominous start for Williams, who was 1-7 in Grand Slam finals when losing the opening set. Playing with more precision, Muguruza backed up the break with command.

Trying to stall her slide with a forward run, Williams could only watch as Muguruza blurred a backhand pass down the line for break point. When Williams’ wayward forehand volley missed the mark, Muguruza charged through her fifth straight game for 3-0.

One of the most electric exchanges of the match saw Muguruza dig in and answer every ball the American belted at her before blasting a backhand winner for 4-0.


That smile may last a while... 📸: @joelmarklund . #Wimbledon #Muguruza #instasports #tennis

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Bending low to scoop a backhand winner down the line, Muguruza rolled through her seventh straight game. The explosive No. 14 seed won 14 of 20 points played on Williams' serve in the second set and then stepped up to serve for the championship.

“I tried my best to do what you do, but I think they’ll be more opportunities—I do,” Williams said afterward.

A lopsided second set came to an anti-climactic end when Muguruza successfully challenged a Williams shot then dropped to her knees in an emotional eruption of a declarative final.

The woman who grew up inspired by watching the Williams sisters win majors has stared down the challenges of both sisters in winning her major titles fulfilling a prophecy Serena made after conquering Muguruza in the 2015 Wimbledon final.

“I grew up watching (Venus) play so it’s incredible to play the final,” Muguruza said. “I feel incredible to play her here. I’ve always dreamed to be here.”


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