Late glitch fails to slam brakes on Serena charge

Sat Jul 11, 2015 4:03pm EDT
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Standing a set and 5-1 up in the Wimbledon final against a Spaniard playing only her second match in tennis's most famous arena, a fourth consecutive grand slam singles title looked a formality for Serena Williams on Saturday.

She duly completed the job against Garbine Muguruza 6-4 6-4 to claim the so-called 'Serena Slam' and will head to the U.S. Open bidding to become only the third woman to win the "calendar year" Grand Slam in the professional era.

But an angst-ridden finale in which Muguruza tenaciously fought back showed that, despite Williams's vast experience and vice-like grip on women's tennis, crossing the finishing line for a 21st grand slam title made her heart pound just as fast as when she made her first breakthrough at the 1999 U.S. Open.

Which, for her rivals hoping that at nearly 34 the American will become blase about collecting trophies, is bad news.

"I just learned that all the people are nervous, even Serena, in a final, because I saw it," Muguruza, the first Spaniard to contest a Wimbledon women's singles showpiece match since Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in 1996, told reporters.

In winning her sixth Wimbledon title and first since 2012, Williams became the oldest woman to win a grand slam in the modern era and, unless she suffers a dip in form, it seems unlikely anyone can stop her march into the history books at Flushing Meadows where she is unbeaten since 2011.

On Saturday, however, it was the feat of holding all four majors concurrently, something she also achieved at the 2003 Australian Open, that was foremost in her thoughts.

"I honestly wouldn't have thought last year after winning the U.S. Open I would win the Serena Slam at all," said the world number one. "It's super exciting.   Continued...

Winner Serena Williams of the U.S.A and runner up Garbine Muguruza of Spain show off their trophies after their Women's Final Match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 11, 2015.     REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett