Garbine Muguruza is experiencing real splendor in the grass…
The 21-year-old half-Spanish/half-Venezuelan tennis phenom has reached the first Wimbledon final of her career after stunning No. 13 seed Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 at the All-England Club.
Muguruza, who was playing in her first Grand Slam semi-final, showed few signs of nerves to claim a place in Saturday’s showdown against Serena Williams, who she defeated at the 2014 French Open.
Muguruza, the first Spanish woman to reach the finals at Wimbledon in 19 years, was the youngest of the four semifinalists but played with a maturity beyond her years. There were times when Radwanska had no answer to the world No 20’s consistent ball-striking.
Radwanska, whose previously disappointing year had been turned around by her upsurge of form on grass, was playing in her third semifinal here in the last four years, but the 2012 runner-up was frequently knocked out of her rhythm by Muguruza’s big ground strokes.
Radwanska was in trouble from the very first game, in which Muguruza converted her second break point. In the fifth game she broke again as Radwanska’s attempted drop shot landed in the net. When Radwanska served at 1-5 the Pole saved two break points, but in the following game Muguruza served out to love to take the opening set in just 34 minutes.
When Muguruza went 2-0 up at the start of the second set a swift finish looked likely, but Radwanska dug deep and quickly turned the momentum around. From 3-1 up Muguruza lost six games in a row as Radwanska leveled the match and struck the first blow in the deciding set.
The key to the second set was a tight game when Muguruza served at 2-3. Having fought back from 0-30 down, the Spaniard dropped serve for the first time in the match when Radwanska forced her into a forehand error. Two games later she was broken again and Radwanska went on to serve out for the set.
In the first game of the deciding set Muguruza saved a first break point with an ace but put a forehand long on the second. Radwanska was on a roll, but Muguruza responded in admirable fashion in the following game. Hitting a series of big returns, she broke to 15 to level at 1-1.
The set then went with serve until Muguruza broke to lead 4-2. At 15-40 the Spaniard won one of the points of the match. At the end of a thrilling rally, during which she hit a stunning defensive lob, Muguruza hit a decisive blow with a backhand winner.
Radwanska clung on to her serve in the next game but Muguruza was not to be denied and went on to serve out for victory. On Sunday she will attempt to become the first Spanish woman to win the title since Conchita Martinez in 1994.