Sports / Tennis

Experience not necessarily an advantage for Venus Williams

Experience not necessarily an advantage for Venus Williams
Conchita Martínez - French Open - Garbiñe Muguruza - Grand Slam - Pete Sampras - The Championships Wimbledon - Venus Williams - Wang Qiang - Womens Tennis Association - WTA
July 14

12:14 PM ETPeter BodoTennis ClosePeter Bodo has been covering tennis for over 35 years, mostly recently for ESPN. He is a former WTA Writer of the Year and the author of numerous books, including the classic "The Courts of Babylon" and the New York Times bestseller (with Pete Sampras), "A Champion's Mind."The Wimbledon women's final between Venus Williams and Garbine Muguruza constitutes a head-on collision of powerful WTA themes larger than either player. There's the startling continued efficiency of players older than 30, and the ongoing push by a new, younger generation to reshape the face of the game.Garbine Muguruza was just 3 years of age when 37-year-old Venus Williams appeared in her first Grand Slam final. Now, the pair will do battle on the heels of the 2017 French Open, whose champion -- Jelena Ostapenko -- wasn't even born when Williams began her professional career.You can hear the tectonic plates of the game grinding ever louder.On Saturday, Venus Williams will be playing her 16th major final and second this season. AP Photo/Alastair GrantHowever, Muguruza is by no means an ingĂŠnue. She has not only won a major already (French Open, 2016), but also met a Williams sister in a Wimbledon final.That was Serena in 2015, and it didn't work out so well for Muguruza. As she said in her last press conference, however, she has been working hard to get back to a Slam final.Muguruza added former Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez to her team for this tournament. "I think a lot of things are clicking also with her and the team this week, so it's very nice," Muguruza said, with regard to Martinez's presence.No matter how well-prepared Muguruza is, Williams will show her youthful opponent things she hasn't seen much of during her ride to the finals. These include blazing aces, second serves traveling well over 100 mph and vicious forehand swinging volleys.As Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena Williams' coach and an ESPN commentator at Wimbledon, observed on air: "[Venus] has to move Garbine out of her comfort zone, make her run and hit on the move. She can do that because the pace of her shot is something Garbine [isn't] used to."Williams has done great work with both her forehand and second serve at Wimbledon. At times in the past, it looked as though Williams' technique on her groundstrokes was sloppy and imprecise. This fortnight, those shots looked as disciplined as military units.Williams has great momentum, but a look at the cold, hard statistics suggests this will be a compelling race to the trophy. Williams tagged 143 winners this fortnight, just two more than Muguruza; that's 23 per match for both. Meanwhile, each woman has been charged with just 105 unforced errors (17.6 per match).The interesting detail: One match disproportionately impacted the otherwise low error count for both women. Muguruza had 50 in her pivotal, fourth-round win over top seed Angelique Kerber.

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