Serena Williams, Muguruza reach Wimbledon final
LONDON – Serena Williams feasted on familiar prey as she reached an eighth Wimbledon final with a superb 6-2 6-4 victory over Maria Sharapova on Thursday, her 17th win in a row over the Russian.
The five times champion is now one match away from reinforcing her stranglehold on the women’s game by holding all four grand slam titles at the same time, a feat she will achieve for the second occasion if she beats 20th-seeded Spaniard Garbine Muguruza in Saturday’s final.
Sharapova could not deal with the ferocity of the Williams return, while her own serve crumbled as the American increased the pressure.
The Russian is one of the game’s most powerful hitters but looked overawed at times in the face of Williams’s sledgehammer game.
The world number one launched an attacking barrage, breaking twice in the first set and once in the second, bringing up match point with an ace and thundering down another huge serve to clinch a one-sided victory.
In another semi-final, Garbine Muguruza became the first Spanish woman to reach the Wimbledon final since 1996 when she beat Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2 3-6 6-3 in an engrossing Centre Court duel on Thursday.
The 20th seed showed no early nerves in the biggest match of her career and seemed to be on course for a quickfire victory when she powered through the first set and moved 3-1 ahead in the second.
But wily 13th seed Radwanska, playing her third Wimbledon semi-final, dug her heels in and the momentum shifted her way with a run of six successive games.
Muguruza, the youngest of the semi-finalists, never lost heart though despite going down an early break in the decider, and after winning a tense service game at 2-2 she broke Radwanska and then held her own serve for a 5-2 ahead.
There were understandable nerves as Muguruza, 21, served for the match at 5-3, not helped by a foot-fault and a double-fault, but she clinched victory on her first match point with a swinging forehand volley after a powerful first serve forced Radwanska into a desperate high return.
Muguruza will face either world number one and five-times champion Serena Williams or Maria Sharapova in Saturday’s final.
Conchita Martinez was the last Spanish woman to win the Wimbledon title when she beat Martina Navratilova in 1994. –Reuters