Some worried about Garbine Muguruza’s future after the disappointing 12 months that followed her maiden Grand Slam win at the 2016 French Open.
Worry no more.
Muguruza, 23, hadn’t won a title since that French Open but has now won her second Grand Slam title by defeating Venus Williams 7-5, 6-0 to win Wimbledon.
The two sets were essentially different matches, as the first set featured some nervous errors but was ultimately a splendid display of women’s power tennis under pressure, with both champions weaving through traffic until 5-all, when Muguruza broke.
Facing break points at 4-5, Muguruza followed a couple brutal forehand errors by practically flipping a switch on that wing to save the break points. She would not lose another game, as she settled into excellent form, while Williams, 37, was unable to rebound from narrowly losing the opening set.
“It was going to be a rough match, so I stayed composed […] You dream of this once you make it,” Muguruza said to ESPN, adding that winning felt like “a bomb of emotions.”
Aside from understandable jitters every player begins with, Muguruza clearly looked comfortable on the second Saturday in Centre Court, a stage that has unraveled past challengers, especially against a five-time champion like the elder Williams sister.
However, losing to the younger Williams sister, Serena, in the final two years ago clearly helped Muguruza, who said that experience helped her remain calm, a resolve that showed practically all tournament.
The Venezuelan-turned-Spaniard won a pressure-packed fourth round match on Manic Monday against World No. 1 Angie Kerber, and was otherwise only broken once in her other six matches, all won in straight sets.
Muguruza joins six other women with two Slams this decade, all tied for second behind Serena’s 12. She also becomes the only woman to beat both Williams sisters in Grand Slam finals. That is largely because Venus had not lost to anyone other than her sister in a major final since Martina Hingis at the 1997 U.S. Open.
Williams comes up one match shy of her eighth Grand Slam title for the second time this season, also having lost to her sister in Australia. On the bright side, she will return to the top 10 for the first time since last fall.
Meanwhile, Muguruza had plummeted out of the top 10 after vacating her Roland Garros title, but will now jump back into the top 5.