Just like her coach Conchita Martinez 23 years before her, Garbine Muguruza has defeated a 37-year-old star at Wimbledon. Just like Martina Navratilova, who fell to Martinez in 1994, Venus Williams had an amazing run throughout the tournament. She defeated three players 20 years or younger, but she simply couldn’t outplay the always steady Muguruza, who took the match in straight sets 7-5, 6-0.
It was a tense match for both players heading in, and it showed. Both players had numerous double faults throughout the first set, before a double fault from Williams on the first point of the second set that allowed Muguruza to break. Williams never recovered, and Muguruza capitalized. Both players tried to play the net throughout the match, but Muguruza ended up completely taking over the match in the second set. Williams tried to advance, but each time she did Muguruza would hit her with a lob to force a retreat.
After a first set that was dominated by service points, Muguruza saw pay-dirt once she saw cracks in Williams’s service armor. After breaking in the second set, she kept Williams away from the net and controlled the flow in dominant fashion. Never breaking her competitive, steely demeanor, Muguruza exploited a Williams that didn’t seem to have her serve game up to par. For a player whose services had carried her throughout the tournament, it was a bad situation for her to be in. Both players looked nervous heading into the match, but only one of them ended up playing like it.
Throughout the entire second set, Muguruza dismantled Williams, taking the set 6-0 through a combination of an impressive deep game and exploitation of numerous mistakes by Williams. Williams simply didn’t have it in her to keep up with Muguruza, and she looked resigned after the first point.
The loss concludes a historic run for Venus, but it opens up a world of possibilities for Muguruza. It is her second Grand Slam win. The 23-year-old won the French Open in 2016. Long regarded as a player that could be tennis’s “next big thing,” Muguruza always seemed to come up just short. Now, with her second Grand Slam in as many years, she may be looking to make the leap into tennis’s elite.
The No. 15 player in the world defeated Angelique Kerber in the Round of 16, who handed Muguruza a loss in the first set. From there, she won her next eight sets, including a last set that will stand among the most dominant of the decade in Wimbledon. There may be a new guard heading women’s tennis soon, and Muguruza has what it takes to be right up there with them for the foreseeable future.