Wimbledon 2017 - Muguruza toughs it out
It was like 2016 all over again. In watching Garbiñe Muguruza and Angelique Kerber trade blows for three full-blooded sets, each in their own very different ways – the Spaniard throwing caution to the wind in her all-attacking style (55 winners and 50 unforced errors), and the German counterpunching as she scampered around the court (12 unforced errors and 27 winners), we were reminded why they were the players of last season along with Serena Williams – the former winning the French and the latter the Australian and US Open titles.
And watching them produce such high-quality tennis, we were also reminded how much of a rarity it has become in 2017 and just how much they both needed a benchmark win after a first half of the season in which neither has done justice to themselves, with Muguruza currently tenth in the WTA Race Rankings and Kerber 13th.
“I finally managed to replicate what I’ve been doing in training and I get the feeling that I’m playing better with every round”
The Spanish player emerged the victor (4-6, 6-4, 6-4) in a match in which they both won 101 points each. “I feel really good,” said Muguruza after a triumph that could prove a springboard for her. “I finally managed to replicate what I’ve been doing in training and I get the feeling that I’m playing better with every round.”
The Spaniard’s win will see a change at the summit of the WTA Tour Rankings, with Kerber now set to relinquish top spot, either to Simona Halep – should she reach the semi-finals at Wimbledon – or Karolina Pliskova, who has already been knocked out. Muguruza is still very much in the mix and has built up considerable momentum: “You know, I don’t feel that much at ease on grass,” she acknowledged. “Every year, when the grass season gets under way, I ask myself how I managed to reach the Wimbledon final (in 2015). It’s always tough for me, which is why it gives me confidence to see my game fall into place on this surface.” And as she put it, a confident Muguruza is someone who can “hurt a lot of players”.