A wonderful sight.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2017
Venus Williams vs. Garbine Muguruza
Garbine Muguruza found herself in this same position in 2015. She played well and pushed Serena Williams when Serena was trying to close out each set. A lot has happened since then. Muguruza won the 2016 Roland Garros title and did so by beating Serena Williams in straight sets. Muguruza also then played 52 weeks of streaky tennis in which good form would appear from time to time but was never around for a sustained period of time. At Wimbledon 2017, Muguruza seems to have finally shaken her post Roland Garros title haze. Muguruza will face a player with much more grass court experience in the final despite her great results in 2015 and 2017 on the photosynthesizing surface.
Venus Williams won her first Wimbledon in 2000. Venus also grabbed the big plate in 2001, 2005, 2007, and 2008. Venus played Angelique Kerber tough last year in the semifinal round and reached the 2017 Australian Open final. Any player who has reached 2 major finals in a 7 month period of time can’t be said to be out of the major picture, but this is the best opportunity Venus Williams has had to win a major in some time and may be her best opportunity before she decides to end her career. Still, she is facing a player in her 2nd Wimbledon final in 3 years who is a major champion. This is no cake walk.
— Garbiñe Muguruza (@GarbiMuguruza) July 14, 2017
Venus Williams has the better serve as she has had in most of her matches, but Muguruza serves well so this is not a massive edge to Venus.
Both players can pile up errors in rallies and on returns, but I think on balance Muguruza has the better return of serve in the sense of crushing a ball in a given spot. Venus is excellent at striking the ball when it is not in her desired spot. Adapting is a big part of playing under pressure, but I think Venus will not want to be sending many second serves to the lock and load return of Muguruza.
Venus Williams defeated the most recent major champion in the quarterfinal round and the #1 player from the UK in the semifinal round. Muguruza beat the #1 seed and cruised in her semifinal match. I think Venus has a bit more momentum, but obviously each has notched 6 good wins to get here.
What to Expect
These are two tall players who serve harder than most of their opponents. They have big weapons off of the ground and move well for their height. Venus Williams has more surface comfort and doubles accomplishments so she is more likely to knock off volleys that sometimes become harder to hit in championship situations. Muguruza competed very well in 2015 despite having far less experience or surface comfort than her opponent. In 2017, Muguruza is more experienced in general and on grass. She also faces an all-time great Wimbledon champion, but not a player who is lapping the entire tour as she did versus 2015 Serena Williams. This all bodes well for Muguruza to take a title that eluded her 2 years ago.
No buckling in a 2005 thriller
Venus Williams has faced some of the toughest possible circumstances a person could deal with prior to entering this event. Recent rulings that she did nothing illegal in the Miami car crash undoubtedly were a relief to Venus Williams. Still, for her to get through 6 matches under external and internal scrutiny demonstrates a great deal of mental toughness. I think Venus’ experience and obvious mental fortitude will make enough of a difference to win a match versus a player who possesses many of Venus’ weapons. It should be a great spectacle of hard-hitting tennis so long as unforced errors don’t become too big of a factor. Still, my prediction is Venus Williams d. Garbine Muguruza 6-3, 4-6, 6-3