Venus Williams targets sixth Wimbledon title, faces Muguruza searching for first

 

By Ros Satar, at Wimbledon

  • Venus Williams [10] v Garbiñe Muguruza [14]
  • H2H: Williams leads 3-1
  • Williams is a five-time Wimbledon champion
  • Muguruza reached the final in 2015
LONDON, UK – Venus Williams will look to cap her resurgent year with a sixth Wimbledon title on Saturday, while Garbiñe Muguruza looks for her first.

 

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Venus Williams [10] v Garbiñe Muguruza [14]

If people felt that the absence of defending champion Serena Williams would be to the detriment of the tournament, older sister Venus was on hand to fill the breach. In a tournament that had been blown wide open, not only due to Serena’s absence as she awaits the birth of her first child, the absence of Maria Sharapova after her come-back from a drug suspension was hit with injury, the title was for the taking for many of the chasing pack.

British hopes flew high with Johanna Konta, until the vastly more experienced older Williams played perfect attacking tennis, effectively anchoring the Brit and leaving her on the back foot.

Yet Muguruza has flown through the draw, and this time around she had some good preparation on the grass reaching the semi-finals in Birmingham as well. Williams of course skipped the grass warm-up events but has a natural ease on the surface and her record here needs no explanation.

Her run to the Australian Open final, where she lost to her younger sister, puts her in the position to surpass all kinds of records. She passed Serena for most main draw matches at the All England Club after her second round victory and her stats have been impressive, winning 80% of her first serve points and dropping serve just six times in 59 games.

Both play an aggressive game, with Muguruza not only possesses a big forehand and a back-hand down the line, but she showed in her match against Magdalena Rybarikova that she still had a lot of speed and agility up at the net.

Williams also has years of singles and doubles experience to draw upon, with a game that adapts perfectly to this surface. She is a skilful volleyer, her serve needs no introduction and while her forehand can occasionally break down under presser, her range of shots and her power make her very tough to get past – just ask Konta!

This has the makings of being a great final. Like it or not we do have to consider a world without the Williams sisters, and Muguruza has made a Slam final every year, reaching Wimbledon in 2015, and winning the French Open last year – beating Serena to do it.

We can expect some long rallies, and athletic shot-making and there is very little between the in terms of time spent on court. We have, in short, the best final from a draw that had infinite possibilities. It is hard not to root for Venus to carve out a little more history, almost stepping out of Serena’s limelight, but she will have to battle hard for it.

Prediction: Williams in three sets.

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