2016 in review: Muguruza perfect in Paris
Originally published on 22/12/16 00:00
One came into the final with 21 Grand Slam titles; the other had previously played in one Grand Slam final. But in a repeat of the 2015 Wimbledon final, Garbine Muguruza upset the form book, beating the defending champion 7-5 6-4 to become the first Spanish woman to win the French Open since Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in 1998.
In a remarkable display of power tennis from both players, Muguruza, who saw four match points pass her by, finally sealed the win with a lob.
“I’m so excited. To play a final of a Grand Slam against one of the best players, it’s the perfect final,” said the 22-year-old, who is the youngest major winner since Victoria Azarenka at the 2012 Australian Open. “I had to be ready and very concentrated on all the points and I just tried to fight as much as I can. All the matches I’ve played against her helped me."
Williams, who admitted after her semi-final win over Kiki Bertens that she had been struggling with an adductor strain, had been bidding to equal Steffi Graf’s Open Era record of 22 Grand Slam titles, but fell in a second consecutive major final.
“I’m not one to ever make excuses,” said Williams after suffering only her sixth defeat in 27 career Grand Slam finals. "At the end of the day I didn’t play the game I needed to play to win and she did. Adductor or not, she played to win.”