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Venus Williams Is Edged In Wimbledon Final As Muguruza Wins Second Grand Slam

By Bill Chappell NPR

Garbiñe Muguruza won her first Wimbledon title by overcoming Venus Williams in a women’s final that was marked by long rallies and creative shotmaking in a gripping first set. Williams was unable to take advantage of early chances against Spain’s Muguruza — who only grew more accurate and confident as the match progressed.

It’s the second Grand Slam win for Muguruza, 23, who defeated Serena Williams in last year’s French Open. Saturday’s win comes two years after she lost on Wimbledon’s Center Court to Serena Williams.

“Well done today. Beautiful,” Venus Williams said on the court after the match, congratulating Muguruza. She added that she hopes to have more chances to add to her Grand Slam titles.

“I grew up watching her play, so it was incredible” to play her in the Wimbledon final, Muguruza said. For the record, when Williams turned pro in 1994, Muguruza was around 1.

At age 37, Williams lost a chance both to win her sixth Wimbledon singles title and to become the oldest woman to win a Grand Slam in the Open era. She won in women’s doubles at this tournament last year, playing alongside her sister Serena.

This had been expected to be a close, tight match, and for most of the first set, it lived up to its billing. But Williams wasn’t able to win a game in the second set.

Both players held their serves through the match’s first 10 games — including a key save by Muguruza, who escaped the first break point for either player to keep it even at 3-3. In the next game, Williams successfully defended her own break point.

Williams finally faltered in the 11th game, hitting a shot long after a spirited rally to give Muguruza a 6-5 advantage that cleared the way for her to take the first set, 7-5. That was after Williams squandered two set points of her own against Muguruza’s serve.

Williams unraveled from the start of the second set, losing on her serve to get into an 0-1 hole against Muguruza. Williams then sprayed unforced errors around the court in the next game, and despite recovering with some inspired shotmaking, she only won two points to create a 2-0 deficit. Muguruza then broke Williams’ serve again in short order, taking control, 3-0.

By the end, Williams had hit into five double-faults and notched 24 unforced errors to Muguruza’s 11.

The second set was over in a blur, with Muguruza hammering accurate shots and Williams struggling to regain any sense of momentum. Williams was able to save two championship points — but she lost on a challenge by her opponent, who successfully argued that Williams’ backhand to the baseline had landed long.

Muguruza had reached this final with the help of her play at the net — she won 18 of the 24 points in which she approached the net in the semifinal. Against Williams, she created pressure from the baseline, using her forehand to move Williams around the court. And in response to some of Williams’ ventures to the net, Muguruza was able to use an accurate backhand to foil the American.

The men’s title will be decided Sunday, when Roger Federer will face Marin Cilic of Croatia.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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