It’s a heartbreak for millions of Americans as Serena Williams was thwarted by Garbine Muguruza to win the French Open Women’s Single title. The fourth seed Spaniard defeated the world-number-one American in straight sets to win her first ever Grand Slam at Roland Garros.
— Roland Garros (@rolandgarros) June 4, 2016
Muguruza entered as an underdog but managed to finish with a comfortable 7-5, 6-4 victory in the Women’s Singles title match. And while people are used to seeing a Spaniard lift the French Open Men’s Singles trophy thanks to Rafael Nadal’s record nine French open titles, 22-year-old Garbine Muguruza has become the first female Spaniard to lift the French open title since Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in 1998.
While Rafael Nadal had to walk out of the men’s tournament following a wrist injury, Muguruza made sure to keep the Spanish pride alive. On doing so, she prevented defending champion Serena Williams from winning her 22nd career Grand Slam. That would have seen the American tie with Steffi Graf’s open-era record. With this win Muguruza also had her revenge on Williams, who beat her at the Wimbledon final last year.
“I’m so, so excited – to play in a Grand Slam against one of the best players, it’s the perfect final.
“I’m so happy. I had to be very ready and concentrated on all the points and just to fight as much as I can. All the matches I’ve played against her helped me. It’s our favourite tournament in Spain and I want to thank all my Spanish supporters.”
Fellow Spaniards were quick to congratulate her as well.
Congrats Garbiñe for your win at Roland Garros. Great news for Spanish tennis!
— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) June 4, 2016
Booooom!!! Garbiñe Muguruza!!!
— David Ferrer (@DavidFerrer87) June 4, 2016
Despite reportedly struggling with a thigh problem, Serena started the match strongly, moving freely in her early runs. She faltered the first dropping serve with a double fault at 2-2, to hand Muguruza an advantage. However, she quickly went ahead, winning three games in a row, making the score 5-4. But Muguruza displayed nerves of steel in the serve game to stay in the set, eventually clinching a 7-5 advantage.
Williams struggled in the second set with Muguruza dictating the play to lead 3-1. Serena could not break the game but did put on a fight warding off four match points. At the end, Muguruza secured the trophy following a stunning backhand lob.
Unlike others, Williams refused to blame her injuries for the defeat.
“At the end of the day I didn’t play the game I needed to play to win and she did. Adductor or not, she played to win. She won the first set by one point. I mean, that just goes to show you that you really have to play the big points well, and she played the big points really well.”
This is Serena William’s third consecutive Grand Slam loss. The 34-year-old was stunned by Roberta Vinci in the U.S. Open semifinals and by Angelique Kerber in the Australian Open final. Critics say it’s her age that’s taking toll. She will be 35 this September and has been prone to a lot of injuries lately. Only last year she had dominated Muguruza in the Winbledon final. Today, Muguruza matched Serena, run for run and punch for punch. This certainly isn’t the end for the world-number-one, but her aura of invincibility is slightly fading. She will have to wait until Wimbledon next month for that 22nd Grand Slam trophy.
As for the 22-year-old Muguruza, this is only the beginning. Her big serves, powerful baseline shots and nerves under pressure suggest that she has a great career ahead of her.
[Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images]