By Ros Satar
- Garbiñe Muguruza  def. Serena Williams  7-5 6-4
- Muguruza will rise to #2 in the world with the win
PARIS, FRANCE – Garbiñe Muguruza became the 2016 Roland Garros women’s singles champion, defeating World No. 1 Serena Williams in straight sets 7-5 6-4.
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In just her fourth main draw appearance at Roland Garros (and fifth overall) Muguruza went one better than her Wimbledon final last year to collect her first Slam title, denying Serena Williams her chance to tie with Steffi Graf on 22 Slam titles.
The Spaniard had already ended the country’s 16-year drought for a Roland Garros finalist, as she became the first player since Conchita Martinez (who was runner-up to Mary Pierce in 2000) and almost unbelievably Muguruza was contesting her first final on clay.
Muguruza started maybe the more nervous of the two, with a long service hold with Williams pushing but not quite finding way through, and any thoughts that Muguruza was likely to crumble first went as Williams double-faulted the break to the Spaniard.
As is her wont though, Williams battled the break back, levelling things up and putting the focus squarely back on Muguruza. Going toe-to-toe with Williams Muguruza needed just one opportunity to break once more, going from serving to stay in the set, to serving for a one-set lead.
Once more Williams pulled back, within two break points of forcing a tie-break, but two monster serves got the Spaniard out of trouble, taking her to within a set of victory on her third set point.
Three successive breaks of serve put Muguruza in the driving seat, and once she consolidated, the signs were looking ominous for Williams. The most pivotal moment was an epic service game at 3-5 for Williams, who saved four match points to make Muguruza serve it out.
At times like these, some crumble and never regain that momentum. Not Muguruza, who served out her first Slam title to love, with a cheeky lob that landed plumb on the line as Williams raced to cover it. Looking to her team in a state of disbelief before the looks on their faces confirmed she had won, as she fell to the ground – the first Spanish player to win the title since Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in 1998.
The emotions caught up with the pair of them as they both made short speeches during the trophy presentation (as reported in the BBC Sport Live Blog)
Williams’ voice cracked as she made her speech in French, saying: “I would like to congratulate Garbiñe, she played very well today. I’d like to thank my camp too – we didn’t win, but I hope we will try again next year. “It’s very important for me to thank the crowd also. You will remain in my heart. Thank you.”
Holding the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen, Muguruza said: “I can’t explain with words what this title means to me. You work all your life to get here. I want to congratulate Serena, because she is one of the best players. I want to thank my group, my family. I’ve grown up playing on clay, so for me and Spain this is just amazing. Hopefully next year we’ll be back.”
Williams graciously came around the net to congratulate a first time Slam winner for the second time this year, and yet again #22 is out of touch. The World No. 1, who looked to be suffering with an adductor strain during the tournament came into press immediately, as reported by WTATennis.com:
“She won the first set by one point. I mean, that just goes to show you really have to play the big points well, and I think she played the big points really well. I could have served better. I mean, I made a lot of errors on my return. You know, I did definitely try out there today, but did I play better than the other matches? It’s a totally different game.
She continued: [This loss is] definitely something I want to dissect and see what I can learn from that and what can I do to get better from it. That’s the only way to keep improving.”
With this win, Muguruza rises to World No. 2 in the rankings, lands squarely in the middle of the Road to Singapore.
Relive the Winning Moments (via Roland Garros Twitter)
Defeating the No. 1 for Slam No. 1. 👏 #InsideRG pic.twitter.com/EhUnmjCm9r
— Roland Garros (@rolandgarros) June 4, 2016
Tweet from the champ! (via Garbine Muguruza Twitter)
Esta es la foto que quería. This is the photo I really like. @rolandgarros pic.twitter.com/5mAZjyXn1e
— Garbiñe Muguruza (@GarbiMuguruza) June 4, 2016
The men’s final between Andy Murray & Novak Djokovic will take place on Sunday at 3pm (2pm BST).
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