Wimbledon: Women’s Final Prediction


Wimbledon: Can Muguruza stop Serena?


The women’s final will be contested at Wimbledon tomorrow. As I predicted, (1) Serena Williams of the USA will face (20) Garbine Muguruza of Spain.

Who’d have thought that Muguruza would reach her first Grand Slam final on grass!? The 21 year old has been preparing for this moment her whole life and has even resorted to banishing her parents from watching the final in person, so as not to disrupt her winning routine. With former champion, Conchita Martinez offering her expert advice off court, it’s to be hoped that Muguruza has used the last twenty four hours wisely.

Can Serena Williams achieve a second ‘Serena Slam’ in holding all four majors consecutively? If she were to do so, she would join Steffi Graf in being only the second woman to hold all four majors at once at two separate points in her career. Is there anything Williams hasn’t yet achieved? The ‘Calendar Year Grand Slam’ of course but we won’t talk about that yet…

Here is my prediction as to who will win the 2015 Wimbledon title.

Experience: Williams has won a tour leading 67 titles in her career, including 20 Grand Slams. Worryingly for Muguruza, she’s only lost 17 finals and only 4 in Grand Slams. The last time she was beaten at this stage of a major was the US Open in 2011, when Sam Stosur beat her in straight sets.

Muguruza has won one of two finals played thus far in her career, winning at the International level event in Hobart, 2014 and losing later that year in Brazil. Though she’d reached two French Open quarter finals before this, she didn’t progress so had never played a Grand Slam semi final.

The gulf between their experience levels couldn’t be more marked.

Advantage: Williams

Recent Form: Williams is 38-1 this year, having won the Australian Open, Miami and the French Open. Her only loss came on the clay in Madrid, where she lost in straight sets to Petra Kvitova during the semi finals.

Muguruza has had a relatively solid year, beginning with a quarter final loss in Sydney and in the 4th round of the Australian Open. Having defeated Simona Halep in the Fed Cup, she advanced to her biggest semi final at the time in Dubai and emulated her quarter final appearance from last year at the French Open. However, the grass didn’t seem to suit her as she suffered relatively dire losses to Magdalena Rybarikova and Johanna Konta in Birmingham and Eastbourne respectively. However, a doubles title win alongside Carla Suarez Navarro in Birmingham and an additional weeks rest perhaps helped Muguruza finally settle into her game on the surface. Either way, her former career high of number 19 will be eclipsed after this week as she becomes only the fourth Spanish woman to crack the top 10.

Though Muguruza has played well, Williams is having what could be a career defining season.

Advantage: Williams

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Route Through: Williams has skated on thin ice thus far, namely against Heather Watson in the 3rd round where she trailed a double break at 0-3 and a point for 0-4 in the third set. Watson was only two points from the match serving at 5-4 and deuce but Williams conjured yet another Houdini act to escape intact. After an intense three set struggle with (23) Victoria Azarenka in the quarters, Williams continued he domination of (4) Maria Sharapova in the semis, winning 62 64. Williams didn’t offer her opponent a single break point in extending her 10 year long winning streak to 17 straight matches against the Russian. Aside from hitting a few screaming winners, Sharapova was made to look ineffectively mechanical once again.

Muguruza has faced her fair share of difficulties too in taking out just about all of the game’s best retrievers in a row. (10) Angelique Kerber, (5) Caroline Wozniacki, (15) Timea Bacsinszky and (13) Agnieszka Radwanska all failed to draw enough errors from the un-flappable Muguruza. Even after losing a set and 3-1 lead in the semis against Radwanska, Muguruza got back on task in the third set to eventually overpower her opposition and win 62 36 63. Who’d have thought it was her first Grand Slam semi final?

Williams has dropped just two sets thus far, compared to Muguruza’s three. Considering Williams’s practically flawless semi final performance, she’s now into her stride with the momentum firmly on her side.

Advantage: Williams

Past Results at Wimbledon: Williams has won this title five times before in 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010 and 2012. This puts her joint third at present, alongside her sister, Venus and behind Navratilova and Graf for the most titles at Wimbledon during the Open Era. In contrast, she has lost only two finals in 2004 to Maria Sharapova and 2008 to Venus Williams. Surprisingly, this was the first time since 2012 that Williams had reached the quarter finals here after suffering early defeats to Sabine Lisicki and Alize Cornet in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

Muguruza had only played the Wimbledon main draw twice before, losing in the 2nd round in 2013 and the 1st round last year. She’s the first Spanish Grand Slam finalist since Conchita Martinez at the French Open in 2000 and the first at Wimbledon since Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in 1996. She’s bidding to become the first Spanish Grand Slam champion since Vicario at the French Open in 1998 and the first at Wimbledon since Martinez in 1994. So, the first in a while!

This is Williams eighth Wimbledon final. Case closed.

Advantage: Williams

Head to Head: Williams leads Muguruza 2-1 in the head to head. However, Muguruza inflicted on Williams what was her worst ever Grand Slam defeat in terms of the score-line with a 62 62 drubbing in the 2nd round of the 2014 French Open. When they last played in this year’s Australian Open, Muguruza pushed Williams to three sets in the 4th round before succumbing 26 63 62.

So, it’s clear that Muguruza’s game bothers Williams and that she’ll believe she can win. Considering how tough it is to push, let alone beat Williams in a slam, I think Muguruza worries Williams.

Advantage: Muguruza

Overall, Williams has a big advantage coming into this match having won all but one category. Once again, Williams is chasing history and though that might induce most mere mortals into panic, her imposing record in Grand Slam finals will undoubtedly ease her nerves. Unlike her opponent, she’s been in this position so many times before and though 33, certainly doesn’t appear to potentially be the oldest woman to win a Grand Slam in the open era.

Muguruza must embrace the moment to inspire a Sharapova-esque victory of 2004. Having beaten and subsequently tested Williams, she will feel confident in her ability to do so again. She must maintain as high a first serve percentage as possible, attack the second serve return and drive home any opportunities to put away a shorter ball. However, I do wonder whether the fact that she hasn’t had to play a big hitter for so long might hinder her rhythm early on. Combined with the nervous anticipation she’ll be feeling, this could cause her to have a slow start which she can ill afford.

I feel that Muguruza will actually embrace the moment and push Williams. For that reason, I don’t think the score will be as lopsided as last year’s final when debutante, Eugenie Bouchard was crushed by Petra Kvitova in full flight. However, I think if Williams was going to lose, it would have been against Watson in the 3rd round. Since then, she’s had a second wind and I find it very hard to envisage her letting this ‘Grand Slam’ opportunity elude her at the hands of a novice.

Wimbledon: Women’s Final Prediction- Serena Williams

Next: Wimbledon: Women's Semi Final Predictions

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