Serena Williams the hot Wimbledon betting favourite to win her sixth title
After a couple of disappointing years at Wimbledon, Serena Williams is back with a bang. The American is into her eighth Wimbledon final and can take a huge step towards a calendar Grand Slam with a win in Saturday’s final.
Her opponent is the 20th seed Garbine Muguruza who has beaten some high profile names on the way to her first Grand Slam final. Keep reading for our Wimbledon women’s final preview.
Williams faces youngster Muguruza in Wimbledon final
Since losing in the third round at Wimbledon last year, Serena Williams‘ Grand Slam record is impeccable. The defeat to Alize Cornet was her last loss at a major and since then she was won the US Open, Australian Open and French Open and is one win away from holding all four Grand Slam titles for the first time since 2003.
While Serena has been tested this Wimbledon – most notably by home favourite Heather Watson – she was never in any real danger of losing her semi-final to Maria Sharapova. The fourth seed rarely troubled Williams and the tournament favourite recorded her 17th consecutive victory against the Russian, winning 6-2 6-4 in just 79 minutes without giving her opponent a single break point.
“I’m so excited. I got a bit nervous because it was a semi-final and it’s a long time since I’ve been this far,” said Williams, who last reached the Wimbledon final in 2012.
“I’m excited to get through it. Maria played well and when she stepped up. I managed to step up. It wasn’t easy.”
The truth was that it was pretty straightforward for Williams whose power was simply too much, even if she only made just over half her first serves. While the top seed has brushed off any questions about achieving a calendar Grand Slam this year, she is as dominant as she has ever been.
A win in the final would be her 28th consecutive Grand Slam singles victory and if she wins her fourth consecutive US Open this autumn she’ll become the first woman to complete a calendar clean sweep since Steffi Graf in 1988.
While Serena’s run to the final hasn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone, her opponent was given little chance of success a fortnight ago. While she may have come into the tournament as the 20th seed, Garbine Muguruza was a rank outsider for the tournament considering her dreadful record on grass.
The Spaniard was knocked out of Wimbledon in the first round last year and her preparation for this year’s tournament was nothing short of awful. The 21 year old lost in the first round in Birmingham to world number 59 Magdelena Rybarikova and then in the last 16 at Eastbourne to Britain’s Johanna Konta, ranked 146 in the world.
Perhaps the extra week’s grass court practice has benefited Muguruza, or maybe a couple of good early wins have given her confidence that she can perform on the surface. The French Open quarter finalist was superb in her three set win over Agnieszka Radwanska in the semi-final, particularly in the first set when she played some almost flawless tennis.
A mid-match wobble followed – her opponent won six games in a row – but she showed great character to secure the match 6-3 in the third set. The Wimbledon final is, of course, the biggest match of her career by some distance and she was naturally delighted to prevail. After her win she said: “I don’t have words to explain it. 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.”
Muguruza is the first Spanish woman to reach a Wimbledon singles final since Aranxta Sanchez-Vicario in 1996 – but can she go one better and actually lift the title? If she can keep her nerve and play like she did against Radwanska then she certainly has a chance, although it is a tough ask for a 21 year old with just one Centre Court match behind her. Of course the one interesting factor here is that the Spaniard beat Williams in the second round of last year’s French Open and her 6-2 6-2 win announced her on the world stage.
Experience can play a big role in a grand Slam final – look how Eugenie Bouchard was thrashed by former champion Petra Kvitova last year – and so we expect Williams to secure a sixth title at 1/7 and to win 2-0 at 9/20.