Friday, July 10, 2015

2015 WIMBLEDON: Women's Final Preview (and Semifinals Review)

Serena Williams (USA) [1] vs Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP) [20]
This is my preview post for the women's final at the Wimbledon Championships for 2015. Last year I correctly predicted that Petra Kvitova would defeat Eugenie BouchardThis year I correctly predicted correctly 2 of 4 women's quarterfinals2 of 2 women's semifinals3 of 4 men's quarterfinals and 2 of 2 men's semifinals.

Below is my review of women's semifinals and a preview and prediction of the women's final at this year's Wimbledon Championships.

Women's Semifinals: Reviews
Serena Williams (USA) [1] d. Maria Sharapova (RUS) [4] 6-2 6-4. For the seventeenth        time after losing two consecutive matches in 2004 to her, Serena  beat "rival" Maria Sharapova. This time it was in the semifinals of Wimbledon, but most of their matches in the last ten years have been important occasions, since both players have been at the top of women's tennis for this period. However, when their trajectories intersect at the business end of a tournament, Serena has basically always come out on top. This is primarily because she has the most dangerous weapon in women's tennis: her serve. Especially considering that ever since Sharapova's shoulder surgery in 2009 she has had been plagued with issues with her toss, leading to double faults at inopportune moments. This was clear in the very first game of this match where she double-faulted 3 times (25% first serves in) and went down a break despite Serena gifting three unforced errors in that very first game. A few minutes later Serena held serve with little difficulty and all the scoreboard pressure was on Sharapova from the very beginning and it basically never went away. The second set was closer but again Serena was able to get a break and whenever Sharapova even sniffed an opportunity Serena was able to serve away the potential danger. The final game also was a microcosm of the match by demonstrating the result was on Serena's racquet not Sharapova's. Although Serena began with a double fault, she basically hit unreturned and unreturnable serves four times in a row to close out the match and reach her 8th Wimbledon final (5-2 so far).

Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP) [20] d. Agnieska Radwanska (POL) [13] 6-2 3-6 6-3. As I suspected beforehand, this was by far the more suspenseful semifinal this year. Some people thought that Muguruza's win here was an upset but as the 21-year-old Spaniard demonstrated for the first set and a half when she raced to a 6-2 3-1 lead, she has a powerful game well-suited to grass-court tennis. However once she could see the finish line she got nervous and Radwanska was able to use her brilliant court sense and tennis wiles to make things even more difficult for the youngster. This led to a string of seven games in a row for the Polish tennis shotmaker. However, despite being up an early break in the third set I never felt like Radwanska was in control of the match. This was borne out immediately because Muguruza resumed cracking the ball and broke her opponents serve twice by winning 50% of return points and approaching the net to put away floaters. This aggressive play was what allowed her to overwhelm her opponent in the deciding set in order to reach her first Wimbledon final.

Women's Final: A Preview and Prediction
Serena Williams (USA) [1] vs Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP) [20]. This is a huge match for both players, of course, it's a Wimbledon final for goodness sake! For Serena Williams this is her 25th major final (an incredible 20-4 record) and if she wins she will be three fourths of the way to the calendar Grand Slam, and will have won 28 Grand Slam matches in a row, her second "Serena slam."
For Garbiñe Muguruza this is her very first major final. In fact, for the last six years there has been a first-time finalist in the Wimbledon final with only Petra Kvitova coming through that experience with a win in 2011. Muguruza is good, but is she Kvitova-on-grass good? The way Kvitova played both her 2011 and 2014 finals she probably would have beaten any opponent (even one named Williams!) As Luci Safarova showed just a month ago in Paris, if you can keep the score close, Serena may get nervous and let you into the match. However, after dispatching 7-time major champion Venus Williams, 2-time major champion Victoria Azarenka and 5-time major champion Maria Sharapova I find it hard to believe that Serena will allow a newcomer to surprise her, especially one who has previously shocked her in a Grand Slam match. Serena will be wary, ready and deadly. MadProfessah's pick: Serena

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