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WIMBLEDON Ladies Update • Muguruza Moves Forward in Her Title Defense

By Richard Pagliario


The sleeveless ivory adidas outfit Garbiñe Muguruza wore onto Centre Court reflected her state of mind launching her Wimbledon title defense.


Muguruza is aiming to bring bare-arm strength and blank-slate focus in her bid to become the sixth woman in Open Era history to defend Wimbledon.


Combining a strong serve with a willingness to move forward in the court, Muguruza moved into the second round with a 6-2, 7-5, sweep of British wild card Naomi Broady.


“I think as a tennis player, when you win Wimbledon, I think it’s winning the best tournament,” Muguruza said afterward. “I don’t know, your mind is, like, I won Wimbledon, priceless. Of course, it’s a Grand Slam. Yeah, the repercussion of winning Wimbledon has a big impact.”


It was Muguruza’s seventh win in her last nine matches.


First-round jitters are standard for reigning Grand Slam champions, but Muguruza was calm and played with control at the outset.


The third-seeded Spaniard served 65 percent, won 80 percent of her first-serve points and denied the lone break point she faced against an explosive and awkward opponent.


Muguruza said she’s learned to embrace the jitters and not overthink on court.


“The nerves are never going to go away,” Muguruza said. “Even if you don’t defend, you’re always nervous. The first round, big tournament. I really learn a different perspective to not worry for no reason. I just go out there and play.


“To think a lot about it is not necessary. That’s the few things I’ve learned from French Open.”


Had Muguruza, who converted three of 11 break points, been more efficient in break-point conversions she could have won the second set more comfortably.


Much has changed for Muguruza since she raised the Rosewater Dish last July.


Muguruza denied set points in the 10th game then charged through eight straight games blasting past Venus Williams 7-5, 6-0, in the final to join 1994 champion Conchita Martinez as the second Spanish woman to win Wimbledon.


A beaming Martinez, who served as Muguruza’s coach during that title run as full-time mentor Sam Sumyk was home for his wife’s pregnancy, raised her right arm in the support box showing the goose-bumps popping from her skin that day.


Muguruza and Martinez split in the spring. The flat-hitting Spaniard jump-started her season knocking off three former Grand Slam champions to reach the Roland Garros semifinals, bowing to eventual-champion Simona Halep.


The youngest active multiple Slam champion showed guile and touch lofting a rainbow lob winner over the 6’2″ Broady to earn the break and burst out to a 4-2 lead.


The two-time Grand Slam champion is at her best pouncing from a low crouch and ripping drives down the line. Muguruza rocketed a forehand down the line for triple set point.


On her second set point, Muguruza stepped inside the court and lasered a backhand behind Broady seizing a one-set lead after 31 minutes.


Beneath a cloudless sky, Broady engaged home fans with successive strong service games in the second set.


The 6’2″ Briton has a lofty ball toss, but timed it beautifully banging consecutive aces to cap a tricky hold for 1-all.


At her best playing grip-and-rip tennis, Broady blasted an ace down the middle leveling after four games.


Pounding her opponent’s forehand, Muguruza banged out errors from the Briton. Broady compounded issues bunging a slice backhand to face triple break point.


The Centre Court debutante stood tall. Digging in, Broady denied all three break points to level for 4-all.


The 138th-ranked Broady was hanging close in longer baseline rallies, but Muguruza dropped the hammer sliding a slice serve down the T to cap the ninth game.


Eighty minutes into the match, Broady missed a pair of backhands to face match point.


Confronting the crisis with a massive backhand strike down the line—hit from several feet behind the baseline—Broady denied match point and held when Muguruza botched a smash.


Dealing with disappointment by continuing to swing with ambition, Muguruza won 10 of 19 trips to net and could have exploited even more opportunities to move forward.


Sliding a clever slice forehand short in the court, Muguruza stamped a love hold for 6-5.


Matching the reigning champion for much of the set, Broady fell apart in the final game. Scattering a crosscourt backhand wide, she faced three more match points.


The champion needed just one. Scripting her signature stroke—the backhand down the line—the stately Spaniard closed in 88 minutes.


Residing in a wide-open quarter of the draw, Muguruza is poised for another deep run at SW19—if she can hold her nerve.


Next up for Muguruza is a second-round meeting with Alison Van Uytvanck. The 47th-ranked Belgian beat


Polona Hercog, 6-2, 6-2.

Editors Note : Ladies Losers today • Maria Sharapova in 3 sets. Heather Watson lost to Kirsten FLIP Flipkens in straight sets • Sam Stosur • Kerber • Bouchard won • Kvitova lost to a young Sasnovich • Taylor TOWNSEND won. Halep won.


Want a quick laugh From Dusan Vemic? click below


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