Serena Williams continued her dominance over Maria Sharapova to cruise into a Wimbledon final meeting with Garbiñe Muguruza, following an emphatic straight-sets win. Williams came in to the match having won an incredible 16 straight matches against the five-time Grand Slam winner and dominated from start to finish in a 6-2 6-4 victory in just an hour and 19 minutes.
The world No. 1 will now meet Muguruza in the final on Saturday to capture her fourth straight Grand Slam title and complete the so-called “Serena Slam.” Victory would also mean Williams enters the U.S. Open with the chance to complete the first calendar-year Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988, as well as equal the German’s Open-era record of 22 Grand Slam titles.
Throughout these Championships, the American has forbidden talk of such feats, repeating the message that she was taking just one match at a time. In her three previous rounds there was more than enough to focus on, when facing significant mental and physical challenges in getting past home favorite Heather Watson, her sister, Venus, and frequent foe Victoria Azarenka.
But there was little of that drama this time around. Sharapova announced herself as a global star by beating Williams to win the Wimbledon title as a 17-year-old in 2004. The Russia won their next contest later that season, too, but in the 11 years since, despite joining Williams as the only active player to win a Career Grand Slam, she has managed to win a grand total of just three sets.
In the very first game, there was a powerful demonstration of one of the major reasons why she has struggled to such a degree. Sharapova’s serve has so often been her Achilles heel and, while she can generally get away with it against most players, it is a different story against the world No. 1. To open the match Sharapova served three double faults and was broken, with her opponent having to do very little.
Indeed for much of the contest Williams wasn’t playing at as high a level as she was in her last two fine victories, but it was more than good enough. Another break of serve soon followed and the set was finished off with comfort. Sharapova displayed some of her famed fighting spirit to keep the second set on serve until the fifth game, but her all-too familiar weakness reared its head again and a double fault cost her the vital break of serve.
In addition to exploiting Sharapova’s serving struggles, Williams served 13 aces, winning 86 percent of the time her first serve went in. And, while Sharapova continued to make more of a battle of the second set, Williams thumped down three aces when serving for the set to wrap up victory in style.
Aiming for Grand Slam No. 21, Williams will now take on a first-time Grand Slam finalist. But she is unlikely to take Muguruza lightly, having lost to the 21-year-old Spaniard in a stunning upset at last year’s French Open.