French Open Women’s final- Is it the beginning of a new era?
The men’s tennis circuit is very different from the women’s draw, in case of men you have more or less the same players competing for the top prize, earlier it used to be Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, then came the Roger and Rafael era and now we have moved into the Novak and Andy. The men’s draw lacks surprise packages who may come and take over the tournament by storm and win it. The women’s draw on the other hand is full of surprises. You have new women coming winning and then simply fading away. In such a case there is one name which has remained consistent Serena Williams. She seems to the corner stone around which the women tennis has revolved in the past 15 years.
Such longevity has also produced a lot of accolades for the American, she has won 21 titles something which is unimaginable in the men’s draw and given her fitness level she might as well add the numbers.
The French Open final was one such case where she could have won no 22 and be tie on the maximum singles title in the open era with Steffi Graf’s , but her quest for the no 22 was stopped by the 22 year old Spaniard Garbine Muguruza. Spain does love the red clay earlier it was the might of Rafael Nadal who took the French Capital by storm year after year winning 9 titles but his wrist injury stopped him from making it no 10, so in came a Spanish women to take home the women’s title as a consolation for him and continue Spain’s dominance on clay.
For Garbine Muguruza it was her first title ever and could not have come at a better time for her against the might of Serena Williams and went on to avenge her 2015 Wimbledon loss suffered at the hands of American.
Her performance was indeed credible for the fact she has never made it beyond the quarter finals in her previous four attempts at Paris.
Though the Spaniard won in straight sets, it was not an easy match by any stretch of imagination. It was moments in matches which swinged the tide in favor of Gabrine. In the first set the first moment came in the fourth and fifth games.
Muguruza saved two break points, one with an ace, and broke in the ensuing game when Williams double faulted. Williams not the one to give up got back to 4-4 and Muguruza held firm serving at 4-5. A crunching backhand down the line, followed by a penetrating forehand, allowed Muguruza to break for 6-5.
But Williams was presented with the opportunity to take the set into tie breaker having two break points at 15-40. But Muguruza served herself out of trouble, first forcing a wide return from Serena and then fired an ace to make it deuce. In fact it was Muruguza service game that was the differentiating factor on the day for Serena enjoyed more winners than her. Muruguza closed the first set on the third set point courtesy a powerful backhand at 7-5.
The first set win was crucial as Serena has 19-0 Record in Grand slam finals when she wins the first set and 2-5 when she loses and thus the numbers world in Muruguza’s favor.
The second set was too saw a Williams comeback but it was just not enough. At 3-5 in the second set, on William’s serve Muguruza had four match points in a five-deuce game, and Williams saved them all and held serve. But this did not deter Muguruza who came back and served out the set without dropping a point, culminating in her graceful lob.
The winning lob seemed to have frozen time, as the ball landed there was no call from the linesman or chair umpire, the crowd dead silent and then Williams raised her hand “ Its in” and Muguruza had her name etched in history
The win ensured that the Spaniard will be ranked no 2 in the world come Monday and her fans will only hope she could go one better at Wimbledon this year. For Williams who has been in the circuit more than most people she will look ahead the grass to win her no 22 and maybe avenge her defeat and do a last year again over Muguruza. As fans of the game one can only hope that the rivalry flourishes and level of games keep on improving and we have some consistency like the mens draw for new people to be able to relate with it more easily.