Garbiñe Muguruza said she was proud to become the first Spanish woman to play in a Wimbledon semi-final since Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, after overcoming a strong challenge from Timea Bacsinszky on No1 Court.
The 21-year-old will face either Madison Keys or Agnieska Radwanska in the last four after overcoming a strong challenge from her Swiss opponent 7-5, 6-3.
With Novak Djokovic’s game against Kevin Anderson having just reached its thrilling conclusion, you could forgive the applause being low key as the pair came out to play. But their match was hard-fought from the outset, the opening game going to deuce multiple times during a powerful display of clean striking.
The pair had met each other in an equally gritty encounter in the third round of the Australian Open earlier this year. Muguruza had suggested, before this match, that she knew her opponent’s game, and she came at her with a big first serve that regularly had Bacsinszky on the back foot.
But Bacsinszky’s powerful backhand and unorthodox shots kept her well defended against Muguruza’s attacking groundstrokes. With her unusual, over-rotated grip, which sometimes leaves the right-hander holding her racket in her left, Bacsinszky sliced and chopped and more than once had Muguruza caught at the back of the court while the ball dropped in behind the net.
Muguruza, who was the first Spanish woman to reach a Wimbledon quarter-final since Conchita Martínez in 2001, is considered a future star of the women’s tour – not to mention a welcome break from her country’s current tennis woes.
The replacement of the controversial Davis Cup captain Gala León García, the resignation of the Spanish Tennis Federation president who appointed her , and the departure of Rafael Nadal (and all his male compatriots) from the singles have suggested these are not happy times for the game in Spain.
In the second set, Muguruza showed she had an answer to Bacsinszky’s tricks. At 4-3 and 15-15 she responded to one of Bacsinszky’s slices with a down-the-line forehand, then took the first of two break points after a punishing rally and served out the match in an hour and 27 minutes.
Muguruza has said it was not until her first practice at Wimbledon that she even thought she could play on grass. “All this experience helps you a lot when you believe that you can do it,” she said after the match, “so I’m going to be more confident.”
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