GARBINE MUGURUZA already knows what it is like to lose to an opponent called Williams in a Wimbledon final – and she is determined to avoid a repeat on Centre Court today.
Two years ago, the 23-year-old Spaniard lost out to Serena Williams in the women’s showpiece event but, now, in her second final in three years at SW19, she is determined to go one better , this time against the older Williams sister, Venus.
Muguruza was imperious in her semi-final against Magdalena Rybarikova two days ago, taking just over an hour to sweep her opponent aside 6-1 6-1, making for an eagerly-anticipated final with Williams, who ended the dream of Britain’s Johanna Konta.
And it is not like the Spanish No 1 doesn’t have the appetite for the big occasion, last year turning the tables on Serena to win her maiden slam title at the French Open.
She was immediately hailed as the new leader of the women’s game, but it was all too much, too soon.
Now, after a year spent failing to live up to heightened expectations, Muguruza has made it back into a final for the first time at any tournament since Roland Garros.
“I think my mind is more equipped this time because the more experience you get, the more you know how to deal with these situations, because they’re very special,” she said yesterday.
When asked about her opponent’s longevity, she added; “I think it’s very impressive.
“I think not everybody can do that. I don’t think I could be 37 and playing (at) that level.
“I think she just loves to play and she enjoys going out there. Even though she’s achieved so many things, she’s still motivated to go for more, which is also very surprising.”
As for Williams, today will see her attempt to become the oldest winner of the women’s singles for more than a century when, in 1908, Charlotte Sterry lifted the trophy aged 37 years and 282 days.
At 37 years and 28 days, Williams is looking for her first grand slam title since Wimbledon nine years ago, when she claimed her fifth crown and seventh overall.
“I feel very focused,” said Williams. “There’s still a lot to be done. I have one more match that I’d like to be the winner of. I have to go out there and take it and play well.
“But I like to take courage in the fact that I’ve been playing well this tournament and this year, and all these moments have led to this.
There’s still a lot to be done. I have one more match that I’d like to be the winner of. I have to go out there and take it and play well.
“I think it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to play well and to be strong and have experience.”