Sunday, July 12, 2015

Wimbledon Day 12: Serena on track for Grand Slam

Serena Williams moved with one tournament of the first
calendar-year Grand Slam in more than a quarter century.
2014 photo by Paul Bauman
   Women's final -- The only thing that will keep Serena Williams from winning a calendar-year Grand Slam is nerves. Even that probably won't stop her. She's that much better than everyone else.
   Overcoming early and late jitters, the top-seeded Williams defeated No. 20 Garbine Muguruza 6-4, 6-4 to win her fourth straight major title. Williams will try to become the first player in more than quarter century to win a calendar-year Grand Slam beginning late next month in the U.S. Open.
   Only three women have won all four majors in one season: Maureen Connolly in 1953, Margaret Court in 1970 and Steffi Graf in 1988. Graf added the Olympic gold medal in singles that year. Unfortunately for Williams, the Olympics are next year.
   The 33-year-old Williams collected her 21st major singles title, third in history behind Court's 24 and Graf's 22. It was Williams' sixth Wimbledon singles crown, also third behind Martina Navratilova's nine and Graf's seven. Muguruza, 21, was playing in her first Grand Slam final.
   Williams double-faulted three times in the opening game and eight times overall. Muguruza led 4-2 in the first set before Williams took five straight games and nine of the next 10. She almost squandered a 5-1 lead in the second set.    
   Doubles finals -- Martina Hingis of Switzerland won her first Wimbledon title in 17 years, teaming with Sania Mirza of India to edge Russians Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina 5-7, 7-6 (4), 7-5. The top-seeded Hingis, 34, and Mirza trailed the second seeds 5-2 in the final set.
   Hingis also won Wimbledon titles in singles in 1997 and doubles in 1996 and 1998. She quit tennis in 2002 because of foot and leg injuries but returned in 2006. Hingis retired again in 2007, when she was suspended for two years because of a positive cocaine test, and came back in 2013 to play doubles only.
   Hingis can add another Wimbledon trophy today, when she and Leander Paes of India play Timea Babos of Hungary and Alexander Peya of Austria in mixed doubles.
   In the men's doubles final, fourth-seeded Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands and Horia Tecau of Romania beat 13th-seeded Jamie Murray of Great Britain and John Peers of Australia 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4.
   Tecau had been 0-3 in Wimbledon men's doubles, losing with Robert Lindstedt of Sweden from 2010 through 2012. Murray is Andy Murray's older brother.
   Men's final matchup -- Second-seeded Roger Federer leads top-seeded Novak Djokovic 20-19 in the head-to-head series. They are 6-6 in majors and 1-1 at Wimbledon.
   Djokovic has won the last two meetings, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-2 in the final at Indian Wells (hardcourt) in March and 6-4, 6-3 in the final at Rome (clay) in May. See my story on the Indian Wells final.
   Stars and stripes -- In the boys doubles semifinals, fourth-seeded Reilly Opelka and Akira Santillan knocked off top-seeded Taylor Fritz and Michael Mmoh 6-3, 6-4. All but Santillan, who's from Japan, are American.
  Opelka, who's 6-foot-10 (2.08 meters) at 17 years old, and Santillan will face eighth-seeded Nam Hoang Ly of Vietnam and Sumit Nagal of India in today's final.
   Fast fact -- Williams, who will turn 34 on Sept. 26, became the oldest woman to win a Grand Slam singles title in the Open era (since 1968).
   Northern California connection -- Williams and Muguruza are scheduled to defend titles in the Bank of the West Classic, Aug. 3-9 at Stanford.
   Williams defeated Angelique Kerber last year for her third Bank of the West singles championship, and Muguruza teamed with countrywoman Carla Suarez Navarro for the doubles crown.
   Kerber and Suarez Navarro also plan to return to Stanford.
   Quote -- Williams on holding the winner's silver dish and balancing it on her head: "I was peaceful, feeling really good. Maybe a little after that, I started thinking about New York."
   Today on TV (beginning at 6 a.m. California time, ESPN; replay at noon on ABC) -- Men's singles final, Djokovic (1) vs. Federer (2); mixed doubles final, Peya and Babos (5) vs. Paes and Hingis (7).

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