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Ask TTI: WWW (Wimbledon Ladies’ Final Edition)

As another wild and whacky fortnight of women’s tennis comes to a close, the TTI Staff sat around with strawberries and cream to summarize who would win the Venus Rosewater dish come Saturday. Will the World No. 1 capture a second “Serena Slam,” putting herself one away from the elusive Calendar Year box set? Or will the 21-year-old Rising Star rise once more, going from bridesmaid to bride?

RENÉ

Serena Williams was my pick when the draw came out, and she remains my pick for the title as the tournament reaches its conclusion. The American was one foot back in a plane across the pond when she played Heather Watson in the third round, but once the scare was out of her way she began finding some of her best tennis — see the fantastic quarterfinal against Victoria Azarenka as “Exhibit A:”

Garbiñe Muguruza’s tournament run has been equally outstanding, taking out Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki, Timea Bacsinszky and Agnieszka Radwanska — all of whom players who could have been traps for an aggressive baseliner like the Spaniard. This, however, is where her run comes to an end. Muguruza has given the 20-time Slam Champion trouble in the past, but I don’t see her causing the massive upset tomorrow. With Williams’ serve clicking, it’ll even out the nerves she might feel coming into the match and the Venezuelan-born youngster won’t be able to apply the same pressure as in previous rounds. I wouldn’t bet against a close set, but the top seed is going to win this one.

Prediction: Williams in two sets

NICK

As impressive as Garbiñe Muguruza has been this fortnight, there’s almost nothing that could have prepared her for what she is about to come up against Saturday afternoon. Though she refuses to talk about it, it’s hard to believe that Williams isn’t super motivated to complete three-quarters of the Calendar Year Grand Slam, and a 21st overall title as she races towards history.

It won’t be said too much, but Muguruza does have a lot to lose (a major title, to be exact), but she will be able to swing freely and loosely knowing Williams has a lot more to lose than she does.

The Spaniard is takes the ball early and is a very flat hitter. She likes to be aggressive from the baseline and bully opponents around. Against the American, she needs to be able to dictate, but it won’t be easy. Williams’ ability to dominate rallies and push back against pace will make it that much more difficult for Muguruza to consistently execute her flatter, riskier shots.

Another big advantage Williams has over Muguruza comes off the serve. The World No. 1 has the greatest serve of all time; Muguruza’s delivery, by contrast, is nothing more than solid. The five-time Wimbledon champion will have a lot more looks in Muguruza’s service games than vice versa.

Prediction: Williams in two sets

DAVID

It is often advised that a big hitter lacks movement, and the easiest way to beat that athletic archetype is to exploit his or her ostensibly weaker movement. But Serena Williams is, as always, the exception to the rule. The American is at her best on the run, making use of an opponent’s pace and direction to create the gut-busting winners we expect to see from the 20-time major champion.

Muguruza’s major strength doubles as the source of her baffling consistency; she takes the angles away from opponents, hitting hard and flat down the middle. The strategy left Williams helpless last year on the terre battue, and nearly threw her for a loop this year at the Australian Open. But as she solved Azarenka through sheer force of will, she did the same to Muguruza in Melbourne. We may be in for one of Williams’ now-patented slow starts, but she will no doubt find her range against the charming Spaniard to capture a second — and arguably even more impressive — Serena Slam.

Prediction: Williams in three sets

JANE

Let’s hope Garbiñe Muguruza doesn’t fall apart tomorrow on Centre Court, and that Serena Williams doesn’t blow her off the court like Petra Kvitova did last year against Eugenie Bouchard. The occasion — Muguruza’s first Grand Slam final — and her opponent — Serena Williams — are two huge mental roadblocks for the 21-year-old Spaniard.

Her chances of upsetting a tuned-in Williams are low, let’s face it. But Martina Navratilova, seeking her 10th Wimbledon singles crown in her final singles Grand Slam appearance, lost to Spaniard Conchita Martinez with similar odds at hand.

Prediction: Williams in two sets

JEFF

A fortnight ago (I can’t believe it’s already been two weeks) I said it was so hard to not choose Williams for the title — so I did. And here we are now on the eve of the championship match, with the top seed in a potentially historic final. Her opponent Muguruza, though, is perhaps one of the few up and coming players with a serve to match the legend’s own.

While I think this might be closer than most might expect, particularly given all that’s at stake, I’ve still got to go with the American — she’s just too close to history to let this slip away.

Prediction: Williams in three sets

VIKA

I was impressed by Muguruza’s clarity in her pre-final press conference; any player should want to beat the best to win a Grand Slam, and Serena Williams is, unequivocally, the best. We’ve seen Grand Slam debutantes be over-awed by the occasion in recent years, but we’ve also seen championship newcomers put on an impressive show. I think Muguruza could come out a little bit nervous — the Wimbledon final is a spectacle and a tradition unlike any other — and that might lead to Williams taking the first set behind one or two breaks of serve.

However, I feel as though Muguruza will settle in to her rhythmic hitting patterns in the second set, and secure a late break to force a decider. With little to separate the two players for much of the final set, I think it will be Williams’ experience that sees her through to a second Serena Slam — a match along the lines of the 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 variety.

Prediction: Williams in three sets

Who do you predict will win? Sound off in the comments!

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About David Kane (138 Articles)
23-year-old tennis writer. Long Island raised me, @Twitter made me. My hindrances are deliberate; my whole life is thunder. @DKTNNS

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