Spanish finalist Muguruza growing to love grass

Thu Jul 9, 2015 6:17pm EDT
 
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Spaniard Garbine Muguruza's relationship with grasscourt tennis has not been smooth but it has blossomed so spectacularly that she now stands one win from being crowned Wimbledon champion.

The opponent in her way just happens to be Serena Williams, the 'Grand Slam'-seeking five-times champion, but whatever the outcome the 21-year-old Venezuelan-born player will never again walk on to an All England Club lawn with trepidation.

"I'm surprised because my two (grasscourt) tournaments before, they were not so good," Muguruza, the first Spanish woman to reach a Wimbledon final since Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in 1996, told reporters after beating Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2 3-6 6-3 in her first grand slam semi-final.

"I didn't feel so good. So to be (in the) final, it's like amazing."

In the build-up to this year's Wimbledon Muguruza managed just one win in two grasscourt tournaments.

She lost to 146th-ranked Briton Johanna Konta in Eastbourne and got only four games off Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova in Birmingham. The Barcelona resident had never gone beyond the second round at Wimbledon.

She even told Spain's 1994 Wimbledon women's champion, Conchita Martinez, of her concerns.

"We were laughing, you know, when the tournament started because I was like, Conchita, I'm not sure about grass.   Continued...

 
Garbine Muguruza of Spain reacts during her match against Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 9, 2015.                                     REUTERS/Kirsty Wigglesworth/Pool