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Inspired Williams owes huge debt to Spaniard Muguruza

By Paul Newman

Serena Williams will attempt to repay Garbine Muguruza for inspiring her calendar Grand Slam bid by denying the Spaniard the Wimbledon title.

Williams branded an "eye-opening" Roland Garros defeat to Muguruza last year as the catalyst for her landing the US, Australian and French Open trophies.

The 33-year-old can complete the second 'Serena Slam' of her career with victory over Muguruza today, to hold all four Major titles at the same time.

To complete that elusive feat of winning all four Grand Slams in the same season, Williams would then need to retain her US Open title later this summer.

The 20-time Major winner has banned all such talk, but rates that 2014 Paris loss to Muguruza as crucial to her revival.

"It was an eye-opening loss for me," said Williams of her 6-2 6-2 second round defeat to the Spaniard. "Some losses you're angry about, and some losses you learn from. That loss I think I learned the most from in a long time.

"I got so much better after that loss. I was able to improve a lot, I worked on things.

"I didn't see the results straight away, but months later I started seeing the results more and more. I learned so much from that.

"Sometimes as much as you don't want it or as bad timing as it could be, I don't want to lose to anyone at a Grand Slam.

"Unfortunately, I did, but it was really an experience that helped me say, 'Okay, Serena, you want to be the best, you're going to have to do certain things and you're going to have to improve certain things'."

The elder stateswoman does not expect Muguruza to be fearful.

She added: "I don't think she's intimidated at all, she's not that kind of person; she'll be fine."

Williams bludgeoned mercilessly past Maria Sharapova 6-2 6-4 to book her eighth Wimbledon final appearance, claiming her 17th consecutive victory over her Russian foe.

Muguruza held her nerve for a 6-2 3-6 6-3 victory over Agnieszka Radwanska to secure a maiden Grand Slam final outing, with Williams wary of that previous defeat to the World No 20.

"It's made me know that I can come back from pretty much anything," said Williams of her glut of turnaround triumphs.

"Or at least I know that I can really try and give 100 per cent. I actually in a way solve the problem, come up with several different solutions to the problem. I act on it."

Williams, meanwhile, insists that she doesn't "need another Wimbledon".

"I've won so many Grand Slam titles," she continued.

"And I'm at a position where I don't need to win another Wimbledon. I could lose tomorrow. Sure, I won't be happy but I don't need another Wimbledon title.

"I don't need another US Open. I don't need any titles to make it.

"Every time I step out on court, the practice court, the match court, I do look at it as a more fun time because it's not as stressful as it was.

"Getting to 18 was super stressful for me. It was fun, but I was so stressed out.

"After that, I've just been really enjoying myself."

Williams' constant insistence the calendar Slam drive is just a sideshow has been textbook kidology, designed as much to fend off constant questioning as to balance her growing excitement.

After denying any thoughts of that elusive Slam all tournament, Williams admitted "the obvious" most certainly fuels her desire to keep on winning.

To Williams, chasing that calendar Slam and no doubt eyeing overhauling Steffi Graf's 22 and Margaret Court's 24 Major titles is every pressure and no pressure all at the same time.

The contradictions are everywhere. Williams is revelling in them, ever more so if aware such inconsistencies wind up her detractors.

"Right now it's definitely the obvious," said Williams, conceding that the calendar Slam bid is her main motivation.

"It was never my goal, but right now it's kind of cool.

"So that completely gets me motivated to work harder and try to reach my goals.

"Believe me, if you had won five Wimbledons, you would be smiling.

"I was so desperate to get to 18 (Majors) and ever since then I've been totally relaxed.

"It's just been going better for me. So I'm not as desperate as before."

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