Thursday, July 13, 2017

Venus avenges Stanford loss to Konta

Venus Williams, shown during the Bank of the West Classic
at Stanford last July, today reached her first Wimbledon final
since 2009. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Venus Williams today reached her first Wimbledon final since 2009 and avenged a loss to Johanna Konta in the Bank of the West Classic final at Stanford last July.
    Williams, 37, outslugged Konta
6-4, 6-2 to become the oldest Wimbledon singles finalist since Martina Navratilova lost to Conchita Martinez of Spain in 1994 at the same age.
   The sixth-seeded Konta, 26, was trying to become the first woman from Great Britain to win Wimbledon since Virginia Wade 40 years ago. Konta was born to Hungarian parents in Sydney, Australia, moved to Great Britain at 14 and became a British citizen in May 2012.
   Five of Williams' seven Grand Slam singles titles have come at Wimbledon. Her last major crown came at the All England Club in 2008. She was diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome, which saps energy and causes joint pain, in 2011.
   Williams was involved in a two-car accident near her home in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., last month in which a 79-year-old man later died. She broke down when asked about the crash in her initial news conference at Wimbledon last week.
   Williams, seeded 10th, will face Garbine Muguruza, seeded 14th, for the title on Saturday at 6 a.m. PDT (ESPN). Muguruza, a 23-year-old Spaniard, dismissed unseeded Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia 6-1, 6-1.
   Muguruza will be playing in her third Grand Slam singles final. She lost to Serena Williams at Wimbledon in 2015 and won the French Open last year.
    Venus Williams, 6-foot-1 (1.85 meters), is 3-1 against Muguruza, 6 feet (1.82 meters). This will be their first meeting on grass. Williams won the first three encounters on hardcourts, and Muguruza triumphed 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 on clay in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open in May.
   Muguruza heads the field in this year's Bank of the West Classic, July 31-Aug. 6 at Stanford's Taube Family Tennis Stadium. Also entered are former world No. 1s Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka, but Venus Williams and Konta are not.
   Serena Williams, who has won the last two Wimbledon titles and seven overall, is not playing in this year's tournament because she is pregnant.

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