Saturday 15th July. 2PM. BBC One
The weekend of Wimbledon finals here, and Centre Court is ready to welcome two superstars of the Women’s game in what is set to be a truly phenomenal final.
Can youth overcome experience? Or will we see history be made as one of the greats of modern tennis looks to set a new record for span between first and most recent Grand Slam title? It’s Garbine Muguruza v Venus Williams, and they should serve up a classic.
You wouldn’t want to miss it for the world.
Can Garbine Make Amends For 2015
It was only two years ago that the Venezuelan-born Spanish starlet grabbed the headlines by reaching her first Grand Slam final at the age of 21. While she didn’t quite have enough to beat Serena Williams in the final, she will be eager to put those demons to bed by overcoming the elder Williams sibling.
Muguruza picked up her first career win over Venus earlier this year in Rome, and now also boasts the experience of winning a Grand Slam final thanks to last year’s win at Roland Garros. Most importantly, though, the 6ft Spaniard has enjoyed a phenomenal fortnight at SW19.
She’s already shown her star quality by beating Angelique Kerber and Svetlana Kuznetsova en route to Saturday’s final. Meanwhile, being over a decade-and-a-half younger could potentially come into play too.
With Serena out of action, Muguruza was fancied by many to have a good chance of lifting the trophy on Centre Court. She is now just two sets short of lifting the crown, but Venus might have something to say about that.
Vintage Venus Going For Six
It’s now been a full nine years since the elder Williams sister clinched her seventh Singles Grand Slam, but she has already been in one final in 2017 and will certainly fancy her chances on her favoured surface. Will a sixth crown be on the cards?
Venus has been just as impressive as her opponent, putting on a masterclass to beat Johanna Konta in the last four to go one step further than she did at SW19 last year. Her mature demolition of the Brit encapsulated everything about her tournament to this point, in which she has dropped just one set. And if she does beat the Spaniard, the Williams sister will become the oldest champion of the Open era.
A sixth title would see Venus draw level with the likes of Billie Jean King, but she won’t be thinking about that. The focus will be exclusively turned to beating a player that she’s never met at Wimbledon, although she does boast a better head-to-head record overall.
Following the negative headlines that have surrounded Venus in recent weeks, nobody could begrudge her the title.
Garbine Muguruza v Venus William Betting
The bookies have struggled to establish a firm favourite for Saturday’s showdown, but Ladbrokes have made Muguruza their pick at odds of 4/5. Williams, meanwhile, is available at Evens.
Both women have been brilliant over the past fortnight, especially in week two, and they’ll each be equally optimistic of getting their hands on the title.
Williams and Muguruza both have plenty of fighting spirit and falling one set behind wouldn’t signal the end for either. Even if it does end 2-0 to either player, we’d expect to see a close battle in each set. With this in mind, a minimum of 23 games looks more than possible.
While the women don’t tend to hold serve quite as well as their male counterparts, both of these stars are pretty good servers. Williams has adapted her, aiming for the weaker returns rather than the straight aces, while Muguruza has barely been broke all tournament.
It could be tight in those opening exchanges. At 5/1, the first set tie-break is well worth a punt.