Spain will have a ladies singles finalist at the All England Club after 19 years as Garbine Muguruza booked her place in the Wimbledon 2015 final with a three-set win over Agnieszka Radwanska on Thursday. Meeting her in the summit clash will be a formidable opponent – World No. 1 and 20-time major winner Serena Williams who is going for her fourth consecutive Grand Slam title. Serena breezed past 2004 winner Maria Sharapova in straight sets in the other semi-final.
Leander Paes wins, heartbreak for Bopanna and Mirza at Wimbledon 2015
Leander Paes was left the only Indian smiling on Day 10 of the Championships. The seventh-seeded mixed doubles pair of Paes and Martina Hingis, who won the 2015 Australian Open, kept alive their bid for their second Slam this year by progressing into the semi-finals.
Leander and Martina thrashed third seeds Marcin Matkowski and Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-1 for a showdown with the reigning French Open winners Mike Bryan and Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the last-four stage.
But it turned out to be a day of near-misses for the other Indian title contenders. Sania Mirza and Bruno Soares, who had conquered the 2014 US Open, were also in contention in the mixed doubles quarter-finals on Thursday. Unfortunately, the second-seeded pair ended up on the losing side in spite of having two match points at one stage.
Fifth seeds Alexander Peya and Timea Babos edged past the Indo-Brazilian duo for a 3-6, 7-6(6), 9-7 win.
Sania Mirza is still alive in the ladies doubles draw along with Martina Hingis. The top seeds hope to book their berth in the final on Friday.
Stuttgart champions Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea too had a disappointing end to their campaign in Wimbledon 2015 men’s doubles. In a close five-set semi-final, the ninth seeds bowed out 6-4, 2-6, 3-6, 6-4, 11-13 to the fourth-seeded team of Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau.
Sumit Nagal wins
Meanwhile, there was some good news from the junior section. The eighth-seeded pair of Sumit Nagal and Nam Hoang Ly beat the British duo of Jonathan Gray and Ewan Moore to advance to the quarter-finals. They will now meet the unseeded Japanese pair of Yusuke Takahashi and Jumpei Yamasaki for a place in the last-four.
First Grand Slam final for Garbine Muguruza
20th seed Garbine Muguruza put up an absolutely ruthless display in the first set. The Spaniard kept on hammering down-the-line returns with a lot of ferocity against the 2012 runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska right from the opening game. She broke Radwanska in the very first game and never ceased to attack the short balls.
The Pole looked totally clueless against the charging Spaniard and went down a double break as the 21-year-old wrapped up the first set 6-2.
The Spaniard did not relent even in the beginning of the second set. With sizzling power and precision on her groundstrokes, Muguruza surged to a 3-1 lead.
However, the Garbine Muguruza juggernaut halted briefly soon after as a few errors crept up in the Spaniard’s game. She was broken back to 3-3 as Radwanska showed her tremendous defense. Having dented her opponent’s confidence, the Pole broke again and grabbed the second set 6-3.
Radwanska threw in the occasional backhand slice that rattled Muguruza and she broke for a 1-0 lead in the third set too. That jolt woke up the Spaniard and she finally freed up.
She came out firing in the next game and broke back. The accuracy on her groundstrokes returned and Radwanska once again started finding her too hot to handle. Muguruza broke and then made her entry into her maiden Grand Slam final with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 victory.
Arantxa Sanchez Vicario was the last Spanish woman to reach the Wimbledon final. She lost to Steffi Graf in 1996.
Serena records her 17th consecutive win over Sharapova
Over a decade, the result of a Serena Williams v Maria Sharapova contest has remained the same. And it remained unaltered even on Thursday as Serena booked her place in her 8th Wimbledon final with a 6-2, 6-4 defeat of the Russian. This is the American’s 17th consecutive triumph over Sharapova.
Serena’s returns were spot on right from the onset in this Wimbledon 2015 semi-final match and Sharapova’a fragile serve did not help her cause at all. Serena broke the fourth-seeded Russian twice and with her own serve looking as menacing as ever, the American quickly closed out the first set 6-2.
The five-time Grand Slam winner, Sharapova came out far more aggressive in the second set and held off the Williams charge for some time. But Serena’s frequent forays into the net and her lightning footspeed on the grass proved to be problematic for the Russian who got broken in the fifth game.
The former World No. 1 made some brutal forehand returns soon after but she was never effective enough for a breakthrough. In the tenth game, Serena made a double fault but quickly rebounded from it with three consecutive aces to seal her place in her 25th Grand Slam final.