Wimbledon 2017

Tennis: Muguruza sets up date with Williams

Garbine Muguruza conceded only two games as she thrashed unseeded Magdalena Rybarikova 6-1, 6-1 in just 64 minutes to reach the Wimbledon final where she will meet five-time champion Venus Williams. It will be the second Wimbledon final for the Spani
Garbine Muguruza conceded only two games as she thrashed unseeded Magdalena Rybarikova 6-1, 6-1 in just 64 minutes to reach the Wimbledon final where she will meet five-time champion Venus Williams. It will be the second Wimbledon final for the Spaniard, 23, who won the French Open last year.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Spaniard relentless in defeating Rybarikova, as Konta falls to US veteran's power and guile

LONDON • Garbine Muguruza has made it to the final of Wimbledon for the second time in three years after a powerful, dominant 6-1, 6-1 win over the unseeded Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia.

The Spaniard, beaten by Serena Williams in the 2015 final, smashed 22 winners as she crushed the world No. 87, clinching victory in just 64 minutes.

Rybarikova had upset Karolina Pliskova, set to be the new world No. 1 on Monday, in the second round and had endeared herself to the crowds with the variety in her game, including a deadly drop shot.

But while nerves were a factor early on, it was the power and depth of Muguruza's groundstrokes, especially her returns, which never gave the Slovak a chance.

"I played well. It was a tricky match - she's a tricky player and was playing very well throughout the tournament," said Muguruza.

"But I was super confident and played well. Once you're in this situation you know how to deal with it.

"I don't even remember how I felt at last year's French Open when I won. I just think that I'm playing well and want to keep it that way.

"I'm going to enjoy being in another Grand Slam final, and want to win."

The pair had split their four previous matches but in her first Grand Slam semi-final, the 28-year-old Rybarikova was left banging her strings and kicking the grass in frustration as she was pushed back beyond the baseline constantly by an unrelenting Muguruza.

The 23-year-old, who won her first Grand Slam title at the French Open last summer, sported heavy strapping on her left thigh but it did not seem to affect her as she ripped through the opening set in 30 minutes.

Rybarikova had come from a set and a break down to beat Pliskova but there was to be no comeback against an inspired Muguruza, who charged ahead 4-0 in the second set.

One beautiful lob from Rybarikova and another drop shot-lob-volley combination had the crowd on their feet but they were just fleeting glimpses of her talent as Muguruza closed out the match.

The world No. 15 Spaniard is guaranteed to regain her top 10 ranking next week and would climb into the top five if she wins the title.

She is the first Spanish woman to reach more than one Wimbledon final since Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the 1990s.

In yesterday's other semi-final, Venus Williams defeated home favourite Johanna Konta 6-4, 6-2.

Twenty years after making her Wimbledon debut, the five-time champion is in her ninth final at the All England Club and her first since 2009.

"I think Jo handled the pressure," said Williams. "No point was easy. I tried to climb on top and get another point. I'm just so happy. I miss (sister) Serena terribly. I wish she could do this for me."

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2017, with the headline 'Muguruza sets up date with Williams'. Print Edition | Subscribe