Muguruza upset Serena to win her first Grand Slam
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Muguruza upset Serena to win her first Grand Slam

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Muguruza upset Serena to win her first Grand Slam

For the third major in a row, world No. 1 Serena Williams has been stopped short of making history by her French Open adversary a 22-year-old named Garbiñe Muguruza.
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Saturday the Spaniard ranked No. 4 in the world shocked Williams at Roland Garros to capture her first Grand Slam title with a 7-5, 6-4 victory, denying Williams a record-tying 22nd major trophy.

“I’m so, so excited,” Muguruza said on court. “To play a final of a Grand Slam against one of the best players, I’m so happy. Serena is a very powerful player and I had to be ready for every point.”

Muguruza is the third consecutive first-time Grand Slam champion in women’s tennis, following the victories of Flavia Pennetta (U.S. Open) and Angelique Kerber (Australian Open) in the last year.

While the result is a surprising one on paper, Muguruza, who had lost to Williams in the Wimbledon final a year ago, had been in sizzling form in the leadup to the final, dropping only the first set she played and winning 12 consecutive sets thereafter.

She becomes the first Spanish champion here since Rafael Nadal in 2014, and the first Spanish woman to win Roland Garros since Arantxa Sanchez Vicario’s 1998 triumph here.

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Williams was again just a match from Steffi Graf’s 22-major title Open era record, having lost in the Australian Open final to Kerber in three sets. She maintains a 21-6 record in Grand Slam finals.

She was emotional and near tears in her runner-up speech, in which she addressed the crowd in French.

“Thanks to my coach, Patrick. We didn’t win today, but we’ll try again next year,” she said, her voice cracking. Williams has worked with Frenchman Patrick Mouratoglou since 2012.

After winning the eight Grand Slam finals she played in from 2012 to 2015, Williams has now lost two in a row for the first time in her career having lost to Kerber in Melbourne. Muguruza is by far the youngest current Grand Slam winner, with Petra Kvitova (at 26) being the second youngest.

At 34, the American now turns to a crowded summer calendar full of expectations as defending champion at Wimbledon, reigning Olympic gold medalist in Rio and the U.S. Open, where she was stunned by Roberta Vinci in the semifinals as she went for the calendar Grand Slam last year.

Muguruza took a 4-2 lead in the first set behind measured, aggressive tennis. But Williams broke back and the Spaniard found herself serving to stay in the set at 4-5. She held there, then broke Williams and closed out a fantastic first set in 55 minutes when she pummeled a backhand winner down the line, out of reach of a scurrying Serena.

Muguruza matched Williams power-for-power, stroke-for-stroke throughout the match.

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