Garbine Muguruza (E) bt. Agnieszka Radwanska (PL) 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
Serena Williams (USA) bt. Maria Sharapova (RU) 6-2, 6-4
Women’s semi final day at Wimbledon is always oddly anti-climactic. One the one hand, it’s the most significant day in the Ladies Singles to date but on the other, even if both matches are long drawn out affairs there’s only likely to be 3-4 hours of tennis. Coming from the previous days, when you could expect up to ten hours of action a day, one can start to feel a little short changed. It’s also a reminder that, as it must, the tournament is starting to wind down for another year. My proposal for All-Year All-Weather Wimbledon remains just a pipedream, to the considerable relief of the groundsmen at the All England Club. Then again, it would mean that being a ball boy or girl was a job for life, which is good for the economy. Probably.
Yesterday’s matches followed a fairly standard template for Wimbledon. The favourite breezed through easily and in the other semi final there was rather more intrigue and excitement. Also, we were able to get a shock result of sorts, although Garbine Muguruza winning on grass is rapidly ceasing to become newsworthy. Her transformation into one of the world’s top fast court players has been one of Damascene conversion and began only last Monday. Had it started next week, or in November, history could be quite different. Instead, she is now in her first Grand Slam final.
History will show that Aga Radwanska won the second set and took the match all the way, but in reality it was much more straightforward for Muguruza than the scoreline suggests. She was hugely impressive once again and now the only thing standing between Serena Williams and The Serena Slam™ 2.0 is the woman who knocked her out of Roland Garros in a shock result 13 months ago.
Williams, who has barely lost another match since, was imperious once again in her private duel with Maria Sharapova. Their record now reads played 20, Williams 18, Sharapova 2. In terms of statistical probability, this is approximately the same chance you might give yourself of winning a fight with a grizzly bear or a lion, or benefiting financially from a UK Budget in the next five years. Sharapova, the ice maiden (copyright 2015, The Daily Mail’s ever helpful Femail article about the rivalry yesterday), melted. Serving first, she immediately went a break down and never really looked like recovering. Beating Serena Williams is hard enough as it is, but Sharapova seems beaten by her before she even steps onto the court and as such is doomed to failure.
So, Saturday’s final sees 5-time Wimbledon and 20-time Grand Slam champion Williams taking on debutant Muguruza. On paper, it’s a no-contest. But as they say, Wimbledon isn’t played on paper. Even if it was, there’s no saying that Garbine Muguruza wouldn’t have quite spontaneously become one of the world’s best adapted paper court players on the eve of the tournament. The Spanish player is going about her business with some style and, more importantly, an apparent absence of fear. So far, at least. If she manages to keep her head in the final, it could well be a classic. Her defeat of Serena at the 2014 French Open is all the credentials she needs.
But tell that to Maria Sharapova.