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Wimbledon 2015: Serena Williams only one step away from another calendar sweep

Ladies singles

By Nick Purewal

Serena Williams has admitted she owes her calendar Grand Slam bid to Garbine Muguruza, the woman blocking her path to both that very target and a sixth Wimbledon title.

Williams labelled an "eye-opening" second-round defeat to Muguruza at Roland Garros last year as the turning point that heralded US, Australian and French Open triumphs.

The 33-year-old can complete the second 'Serena Slam' of her tennis life with victory over Spain's Muguruza tomorrow, as she would hold all four major titles at the same time.

To complete a career-first feat of winning all four majors in the same year, Williams would then need to retain her US Open title later this summer.

The 20-time major winner has banned all such talk, but she views 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 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 straightaway, 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'."

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

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 number 20.

Despite her near-walkover against Sharapova, Williams has specialised in comeback victories this season, rallying from a set down four times to claim the French Open title.

Williams hailed a dramatic third-round victory over Britain's Heather Watson as crucial to the mounting self-belief that could well propel her across that calendar slam line.

"It's made me know that I can come back from pretty much anything," said Williams. "Or at least I know that I can really try and give 100 per cent.

"Of course, I would love to win easy matches; those are always the best wins.

When I'm down or if I'm losing, I'm like, 'Okay, why are you losing? What are you not doing?'.

"I actually in a way solve the problem, come up with several different solutions to the problem. I act on it."

Sharapova has hinted that the rift with Serena Williams and her coach Patrick Mouratoglou may never heal.

Sharapova slipped to a 17th consecutive defeat to rival Williams in today's Wimbledon semi-final, then addressed Mouratoglou branding Belarus' Victoria Azarenka the "much better" player.

Williams appeared to brand Grigor Dimitrov "the guy with the black heart" two years ago, leading Sharapova to hit out at the American's then-relationship with her coach.

Sharapova hit back at Williams in 2013, saying: "If she wants to talk about something personal, maybe she should talk about her relationship and her boyfriend that was married and is getting a divorce and has kids".

Now the 28-year-old has dismissed Mouratoglou labelling Azarenka as superior by suggesting that feud could never end.

"I don't think you're ever going to hear nice words from him about me," said Sharapova when asked for a riposte to Mouratoglou's comments.

"I don't expect that and I'm sure you don't either."

When asked why, Sharapova replied: "I'm sure you know. You don't need to ask me that."

Belfast Telegraph


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