Muguruza hopes Wimbledon glory won’t backfire

Spain's Garbine Muguruza. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
Updated 16 July 2017
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Muguruza hopes Wimbledon glory won’t backfire

LONDON: Garbine Muguruza hopes the legacy of her first Wimbledon title will not be a depressing repeat of the torment she suffered after her 2016 French Open breakthrough.
The 23-year-old Spaniard stunned sentimental favorite Venus Williams 7-5, 6-0 on Saturday to clinch her second Grand Slam crown.
She immediately turned her thoughts to the future, hoping her triumph will be a launchpad for more majors rather than a one-way ticket into the abyss.
When she defeated Serena Williams to win Roland Garros last year, it was revenge for her loss to the American in the Wimbledon final 12 months earlier.
But instead of having the world at her feet, the burden of being a Grand Slam champion was too much.
She lost in the second round at Wimbledon last year to world number 124 Jana Cepelkova and crashed out at the same stage of the US Open to Anastasija Sevastova, ranked 48 at the time.
Muguruza made the quarter-finals of the Australian Open this year, but her Roland Garros title defense ended at the last-16 stage in tears and a bitter outburst at the Paris crowd.
“It’s not easy. It’s very good when you win it, and it’s hard after when you come back and you know you have to defend,” said Muguruza.
“But that’s a good problem to have. It was tough obviously, because you know you have a lot of matches to go.
“I’m happy to be in this situation. I’m happy that once again I see myself winning a Grand Slam, something that is so hard to do. It means a lot.
Muguruza’s title triumph on Saturday was her first of any kind since the 2016 French Open.
Two of her four career titles have now come at the majors.
When Muguruza lost in the first round at the Eastbourne grass-court event on the eve of Wimbledon, it looked like she was suffering another Paris hangover.
But with memories of her post-Roland Garros problems still fresh, she said she was determined to put the record straight.
She proved as good as her word, knocking out top seed Angelique Kerber, from a set down, and seventh-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova on her way to the final.
“Eastbourne was such a short tournament, I didn’t play well there. But I did the week before in Birmingham (where she made the semifinals), so that helped me,” she said.
“I always come very motivated to the Grand Slams. Since I lost the final here I wanted to change that.
“I came thinking, I’m prepared, I feel good. During the tournament and the matches, I was feeling better and better. Every match, I was increasing my level.”
She said a glance at the honors board at the All England Club also spurred her on to end Venus’s dreams of becoming the oldest Grand Slam women’s champion.
“I always look at the wall and see all the names and all the history. I lost that final. I’m like, I was close. I didn’t wanted to lose this time, because I know the difference,” she said.
On Saturday, Muguruza saved two set points at 4-5 in the opening set and swept the remaining nine games to take the title.
Ironically, Saturday’s final represented the largest age gap between two finalists since 1994, when 22-year-old Conchita Martinez shocked 37-year-old Martina Navratilova for the Wimbledon title.
Twenty-three years later, Martinez was up in the player’s box on Center Court in her role as coach, standing in for Sam Sumyk, Muguruza’s regular coach who was at home with his pregnant wife.
“My level at tennis doesn’t change, no matter who is in my box or not. I’m the same player,” she said.
“I like Conchita to be in my team because I have a great relation with her.
“The coincidence of her winning against Navratilova, me winning against Venus, there were a lot of things there — it was awesome.”


Australia get crucial 1-1 draw with Denmark at World Cup

Updated 21 June 2018
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Australia get crucial 1-1 draw with Denmark at World Cup

  • 38th-minute penalty was set up after Denmark forward Yussuf Poulsen was penalized for a handball
  • Going into the tournament, world No. 36 Australia were the lowest-ranked team in Group C with the others all in the top 12

SAMARA, Russia: Mile Jedinak’s penalty kick gave Australia a 1-1 draw against Denmark and new life at the World Cup on Thursday.
The 38th-minute penalty was set up after Denmark forward Yussuf Poulsen was penalized for a handball following a video review.
Poulsen was also given a yellow card and will be suspended for the team’s final group match against France because of accumulation.
The goal was Jedinak’s second from the spot at this year’s World Cup, and it stopped Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel’s five-match streak of clean sheets for the Danes.
Christian Eriksen scored in the opening minutes for Denmark, which have gone unbeaten in 17 straight international matches.
Going into the tournament, world No. 36 Australia were the lowest-ranked team in Group C with the others all in the top 12.
With a loss to France in the opener, a defeat on Thursday would have made it nearly impossible for the Socceroos to advance to the next stage. Denmark, meanwhile, won their first match against Peru.
Australia lost to 1998 World Cup champions France 2-1 on Saturday in Kazan, with both French goals coming as the result of video technology. But the score did not reflect the Socceroos’ gritty defensive performance.
Australia again took a defensive stand against Denmark, which were back at the World Cup after missing out on the tournament in Brazil.
The Danes were coming off a 1-0 victory over Peru on Saturday in Saransk.
Poulsen, who plays for German club RB Leipzig, scored the lone goal.
It is the fifth World Cup appearance for the Danes, who reached the quarterfinals in 1998.
Australia were also making a fifth trip to the World Cup. The team’s best showing was in the 2006 quarterfinals.
Moments after Mathew Leckie’s header for Australia sailed over the goal, Eriksen sent a left-footed shot over goalkeeper Mathew Ryan’s outstretched arms.
Pione Sisto nearly gave the Danes the advantage just after the halftime break, but his shot went to the right of the goal. Australia added some firepower in the 68th, bringing on 19-year-old Daniel Arzani as both teams scrambled for a winning goal.
Australia lost Andrew Nabbout in the 74th minute with what appeared to be a dislocated shoulder. He was replaced by Tomi Juric.
Denmark’s opening victory over Peru was marred by the loss of starting midfielder William Kvist, who fractured two ribs and is likely to miss the rest of the tournament. He was replaced in the starting lineup against Australia by Lasse Schone.
Denmark’s last loss was in October 2016 against Montenegro, 1-0 in Copenhagen.

GROUP DYNAMICS
The highlight of Group C will be the match between France and Denmark on Tuesday in Moscow. The top finishers in the group will go on to play opponents from Group D, which includes Croatia, Argentina, Iceland and Nigeria.

KEYS TO SUCCESS
Eriksen, who plays for Tottenham in England, has scored in 17 of the national team’s last 20 matches.
During World Cup qualifying, he scored 11 goals for the Danes, third-best in Europe behind Poland striker Robert Lewandowski with 16 and Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo with 15.
Now 26, Eriksen was the youngest player at the World Cup in South Africa. He has 79 appearances for the national team and 23 goals.
He was named man of the match on Thursday.