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Wimbledon 2015: Serena Williams sets up final with Garbine Muguruza

2015-07-09 18:42:44

Serena Williams

World number one Serena Williams brushed aside fourth seed Maria Sharapova to set up a Wimbledon final against Spain's Garbine Muguruza.

The American, 33, extended her winning run against Sharapova to 17 matches over 11 years with a 6-2 6-4 victory.

Williams could win a sixth Wimbledon and 21st major title on Saturday, when she can also complete a 'Serena Slam' by holding all four Grand Slam titles.

Muguruza, 21, beat Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2 3-6 6-3 in the first semi-final.

The Venezuela-born 20th seed led by a set and a break only for 13th seed Radwanska to respond with six straight games and force a decider.

"I don't have words to explain it," Muguruza told BBC Sport.

"I worked all my life to achieve this moment. I think I was playing really well so I had to stay calm and keep a poker face.

"I knew it was going to be tough. I was nervous in second set. She has a lot of experience and I had to fight."

Dominant Williams makes it 17 in a row

Sharapova had not beaten Williams since 2004, the year of her Wimbledon triumph over the American, and she was unable to prevent a 17th straight defeat.

The Russian knew she had to defend her vulnerable serve better but successive double faults handed over the opening game, to groans around Centre Court.

Lindsay Davenport

"It's 17 times in a row a now and I think Sharapova is a realist and says, 'This is just a bad match-up for me.' She just doesn't possess what she needs to challenge Serena. She was constantly fighting to hold her own serve and couldn't make any inroads on the return game. It all revolves around the serve for Serena and when that's on, I'm not sure anyone can challenge her. It's perfect."

Williams was not in the mood to offer her long-time rival any gifts and almost broke again in game three, the Russian saving herself with an ace out wide.

A forehand into the corner earned the double break two games later and the set was wrapped up after 33 minutes, with Sharapova unable to profit from the American making just 52% of first serves.

There were signs of the world number four at least gaining a foothold in the early stages of the second set, but Williams upped the pace in game five and Sharapova succumbed on break point with her fifth double fault.

Sharapova was struggling desperately to win points on her second serve and Williams let her off the hook with three missed returns on break points at 3-3, before the Russian saved two match points in game nine.

Williams still had her serve to come, however, and converted her third match point with a 13th ace having played the entire 79-minute contest without facing a break point.

Muguruza holds her nerve in decider

Muguruza completely dominated for a set and a half, winning more than half of the points on Radwanska's serve and hitting three times as many winners as she built a 6-2 3-1 lead.

It took 55 minutes for Radwanska to earn a break point but, when Muguruza found the net, it heralded a dramatic shift in momentum.

Serena Williams

"A star is born in women's tennis. That lob from Radwanska must have felt like it was hanging in the air for so long, and then Muguruza just finished it off."

The Pole finally began to move her 6ft opponent around, testing her more vulnerable forehand and drawing her into the net with sliced backhands.

It brought Radwanska a run of six straight games as she levelled at one set all and broke at the start of the decider.

Muguruza, who beat Serena Williams at the French Open last year, stemmed the tide with a couple of winners to break back for 1-1 and a gripping contest unfolded.

Garbine MuguruzaMuguruza hopes to become Spain's first female champion since Conchita Martinez in 1994

The Spaniard won a brilliant point with a defensive lob and a crunching backhand winner for a 4-2 lead and survived a tense game when trying to serve out the win.

Radwanska had two break points and was pushing for a third at deuce when, seemingly urged on by those in her player box, the Pole challenged a Muguruza shot that Hawk-Eye showed to have clipped the line.

A relieved Muguruza converted her first match point with a big serve and forehand drive-volley to become Spain's first female finalist since Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in 1996.

Radwanska rues Hawk-Eye call

Radwanska admitted her decision to challenge at deuce in what proved to be the final game let an increasingly nervous Muguruza off the hook.

"It was a 50/50 call on that ball. I decide to challenge. Wasn't really a good decision," said the Pole.

Asked whether she had done so after shouts from her team at courtside, Radwanska added: "I think I did it because I'm the one to decide if I challenge or not. Nobody can do that for me."

Agnieszka RadwanskaRadwanska looked capable of getting back into the final set when she mistakenly challenged


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