LONDON • Garbine Muguruza became the first Spanish woman in 19 years to reach the Wimbledon final yesterday with a rollercoaster 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 win over Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska.
The 21-year-old goes on to tackle world No. 1 and five-time champion Serena Williams, who easily beat 2004 winner Maria Sharapova 6-2, 6-4 in the other semi-final.
Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario was the last Spanish woman to make the final at the All England Club in 1996, while Conchita Martinez was the last champion in 1994.
Muguruza had to endure some nerve-racking moments before she secured her maiden Grand Slam final spot, after she saw a 3-1 lead in the second set disappear against Radwanska, a three-time Wimbledon semi-finalist.
The Spaniard, who has only one WTA tour title to her name, then took victory with a power-packed flowing forehand, her 39th winner of the contest.
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I have worked all my life for this. I have no words to describe this.
GARBINE MUGURUZA, after reaching her first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon
"I have worked all my life for this. I have no words to describe this," said 20th seed Muguruza, who will climb into the top 10 for the first time next week as a result of her performance at Wimbledon.
"It was a tough match. Agnieszka has so much experience but I just wanted to keep fighting. It's a dream, I'm in the final. I want to win Wimbledon."
Muguruza said she was hoping for the best when the shot which took her to match point was called out - possibly by a member of Radwanska's team in the player's box. "I challenged. I was praying it was on the line," she said.
The Spaniard will be the underdog in the final as she trails Williams 1-2 in head-to-head clashes. Her only win against the American came in last year's French Open.
Muguruza had enjoyed an impressive tournament. She had knocked out Danish fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki and German 10th seed Angelique Kerber to make the last four. Radwanska, the 2012 runner-up, had not faced a player inside the top 20.
That battle-hardened edge shone through on Centre Court as the 1.83m-tall Muguruza unleashed 12 winners to Radwanska's four in the opening set.
Two breaks of serve in the first and fifth games gave her the opening set in just 33 minutes, with the Pole managing to claim only four points of the Spaniard's serve.
Muguruza broke again in the opening game of the second set and it was not until the sixth game that the 26-year-old Radwanska carved out and converted a first break point to level at 3-3.
Radwanska then raced through the second set, winning five games on the trot. That became six with a break in the first game of the decider before the Spaniard stopped the rot with a break back for 1-1.
Muguruza then broke for 4-2, rediscovering the raw power of her earlier dominance to secure a famous win.
Day 11: Singtel TV Ch115 & StarHub Ch209, 6.30pm
Men's singles s-finals: Ch114 & Ch208, 8pm