By Ros Satar
- Serena Williams wins Wimbledon to hold all four Slam titles for the second time in her career
- Standing ovation for Garbiñe Muguruza after fight-back in the second set
Serena Williams defeated Garbiñe Muguruza in one of the more competitive ladies’ singles finals to win her 21st Slam title.
After a couple of years of less than enthralling, one sided affairs, the scene was set for a blistering end on another hot day in Wimbledon, as WTA Rising Star Muguruza prepared to meet her idol Williams in the biggest arena for the sport
There were nerves a plenty for the five-time champion who threw in three double faults in a game than lasted over 8 minutes, and put the Spaniard into an early lead, much to the delight of the Centre Court crowd who wanted a match.
Muguruza kept up steady pressure, as Williams struggled to find her groove, but once she did, she started to motor, reeling off four games in a row, aided and abetted by a double-fault from the Spaniard to set up the first set point.
Muguruza’s solid hitting from both sides suddenly was reduced to half as her forehand started to let her down, allowing Williams to build up a swift 4-1 lead, but again never count on the effect of nerves as Muguruza repaid the break to love with one of her own to claim one back.
Was it just delaying the inevitable? As Williams stepped up to serve for the title once more, Muguruza somehow had points for another break to love. Williams picked up her first match point with four points in a row but once more the gilt platter was just edged out of reach as Muguruza pulled things back on serve, for the first time since the start of the set.
The crowd were willing her on – well we are fond of an underdog aren’t we, but just as thrilling has her string of three games in a row was, Williams capitalised on another Muguruza double-fault to start the last game off, picking up three championship points before her return which may or may not have clipped the line left the final point hanging in the air.
No-one knew whether Muguruza would challenge, or would the call be confirmed out. We weren’t even sure that Alison Hughes got to call out Game, Set and Championship as Muguruza wandered towards the umpire before tossing her racket by her chair and walking over to give Williams a warm hug.
It was over, but not before the crowd, who had roared her come-back on gave her a standing ovation, reducing her to tears after such a brave fight. Williams even told her not to be sad, and that one day soon she would be holding this trophy. Above all it was a competitive end to a final after two years of opponents being battered off court.
Muguruza said, after her match: “I couldn’t stop crying. So many people are clapping. I make all these people feel this in a tennis court? I was like, I don’t know. I felt special.
“I learned that [Williams is] also nervous, even though she played I don’t know how many finals. And she finds the way, being so nervous, to serve, to hit winners. She’s world No. 1. That’s what I saw today. I see it every day.
“It’s good when you hear something like this from a legend. Well, in this moment I was like, Yes, yes, yes (laughter). Obviously, what are you going to say? Hopefully I can do it. I was close. It’s good to hear that. I feel better now (smiling).”
Meanwhile it is hard to imagine that just last year, Williams had packed up ger belongings and shipped out early in three Slams last year, before winning in New York, and now all talk of the Serena Slam was permitted, even if perhaps talk now of the calendar Slam ought to be kept under wraps.
Williams said: “You know, it took me a little while. I think when I did my interview for BBC after the match, I did the whole presentation, I did the whole walk around the court. I was peaceful, feeling really good. Maybe a little after that I started thinking about New York.”
“I know just last year I was just so down because I lost so early in three of the Grand Slams. By the time New York came around, I was like, I just want to get to the quarterfinal of a Grand Slam. When I won my fourth round match, I was elated. I was like, Yeah, finally.”
Williams is actually still scheduled to compete on the red clay in Bastad next week, before heading to the US for the start of the hard-court swing that leads up to the US Open.