PARIS: Garbine Muguruza won her first Grand Slam title at the French Open on Saturday defeating top seed and defending champion Serena Williams in the final.
Twelve years younger than the American at 22, and playing in the first claycourt final of her career, the Venezuelan-born Spaniard upset the odds to win 7-5, 6-4.
She is the first Spanish woman to win a Grand Slam title since Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in Paris in 1998 and she is the third straight first time Grand Slam winner after Flavia Pennetta at last year’s US Open and Angelique Kerber at the Australian Open.
“I am so excited to play the final of a Grand Slam against one of the best ever players. It’s the perfect final and I am so happy,” she said.
“I grew up on clay so for Spain and me this is just amazing.
“Serena is a very powerful player and I just tried to fight as hard as I can.”
For Williams it was a second straight loss in a Grand Slam final and it wrecked her hopes once again of winning a 22nd Grand Slam title to draw level with Steffi Graf for most wins in the Open era, since 1968.
She will now turn her focus on Wimbledon where she will be the defending champion and a six-time former winner.
“Congratulations to Garbine, she played really well today,” said Williams, who confirmed that she had been slightly troubled by an adductor problem.
“I could have served better, made a lot of errors on return, but I did try hard out there.”
The players took contrasting routes to get to the final.
Fourth seed Muguruza breezed through, losing just the one set, in her opening match, while Williams struggled past the quarters and semifinals amid talk of an injury or illness.
But with weather conditions improving after one of the rainiest Roland Garros tournaments on record, it was a different, more focused Williams that got the final underway with a love service game.
Serena vows to keep chasing Steffi record
Williams vowed to keep chasing down Steffi Graf’s record of 22 Grand Slam titles after it remained once again tantalizingly out of reach.
Williams’ titles count at the majors has stalled on 21 ever since she lifted a sixth Wimbledon crown last year by beating Muguruza in the final.
The American star then suffered a shock semifinal loss to Italian journeywoman Roberta Vinci at the US Open before defeat to Germany’s Angelique Kerber in the Australian Open title match in January.