Serena, Muguruza reach Wimbledon final

LONDON: Serena Williams of the United States and Garbine Muguruza of Spain reach the final of Wimbledon after winning their respective semi-finals on Thursday.


It will be eight Wimbledon final for Serena as the world number one maintained her 11-year mastery of Maria Sharapova with a 6-2, 6-4 demolition.

Muguruza on the other hand became the first Spanish woman to reach the final since 1996 as Agnieszka Radwanska was left rueing a botched Hawk-Eye challenge in the last game of her 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 Centre Court loss.

Serena took just 79 minutes to blitz Sharapova off with 13 aces and 29 winners as the five-time Wimbledon champion secured her 18th career win in 20 meetings with her bitter rival.

It will be her 25th Grand Slam final as she eyes a 21st major title.

Serena, who extended her winning run at Grand Slams to 27 matches and her 2015 record to 38-1, is just one win away from holding all four major titles at the same time — a feat she last achieved in 2002-03.

She is also within touching distance of becoming the first woman to win the French Open and Wimbledon back to back since she last achieved that difficult double in 2002.

And, adding to the wealth of historic milestones in her sights, Serena remains in the hunt to be the first woman since Steffi Graf in 1988 to win a calendar Grand Slam.

It was another chastening defeat for Sharapova and, although the Russian world number four is due to return to number two in the rankings next week, the latest installment of their one-sided rivalry provided further proof of the vast gulf in class.

It was at Wimbledon where the roots of their rivalry took hold in 2004 when Sharapova, then aged just 17, shocked Serena in the final.

In the first semi-final, as an enthralling duel neared its conclusion the 21-year-old Muguruza was serving at deuce, 5-3 and thumped a deep drive that Poland’s Radwanska scrambled back before stopping mid-rally to challenge after hearing shouts of “out” from her coaching team.

The Hawk-Eye screen showed Muguruza’s shot had actually landed on the outer portion of the dusty baseline and even though the Spaniard’s next shot was out, the point was already hers as Radwanska had put her fate in the hands of technology.

Radwanska glared towards her box, Muguruza punched the air in relief and seconds later was celebrating victory after swinging away a volley to end the thriller and set up a Saturday afternoon date with five-times champion Serena Williams.

It was an unusual conclusion to a match which had looked like being a quickfire win for Muguruza in her first major semi-final.

“It was a 50-50 decision but it wasn’t a very good decision,” Radwanska told reporters.

In the men’s quarter-finals on Wednesday, Richard Gasquet of France stunned fourth seeded French Open winner Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 11-9 to set-up a semi-final clash against defending champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia who beat ninth seed Croatia’s Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.