Muguruza with reason to believe in French Open final


When Serena Williams defeated Garbine Muguruza to win the 2015 Wimbledon final, the world number one held all four grand slam singles titles and appeared untouchable at the summit of the women's game.

Fast forward 11 months and the American unarguably remains the dominant figure on the WTA Tour, a favourite for every tournament she enters.

However, there is certainly reason to believe Williams may not find things straightforward when she meets Muguruza in a major final for a second time at Roland Garros on Saturday.

Since securing a sixth Wimbledon crown last July, Williams has twice faltered at the business end of grand slams - shock defeats to Roberta Vinci in New York and Angelique Kerber in Melbourne serving as a sharp contrast to her typical ruthlessness with success looming.

In addition, the 34-year-old appeared well below her best as she struggled past Kiki Bertens on Friday in a match that saw both players hampered by fitness issues.

Williams gave little away when asked to comment on the extent of her adductor injury post-match, but she will surely need to raise her level significantly in order to beat Muguruza, the fourth seed at Roland Garros and an impressive straight-sets winner over Sam Stosur in the semi-finals.

Rising star Muguruza, 22, can also call upon positive memories of facing Williams at the French Open, having claimed a surprise 6-2 6-2 win when the pair met in the second round in Paris two years ago.

Unsurprisingly, the Spaniard - who has lost her other three meetings with Williams - is excited by the prospect of potentially denying her vastly experienced final opponent a 22nd grand slam singles title and a place alongside Steffi Graf as the most prolific major-winner in the Open Era.

"I think that all of us want to win a grand slam irrespective of who the other player is. Of course if this player is a champion it's even more enjoyable," said Muguruza after her victory over Stosur.

"For example, if it were men's tennis against [Roger] Federer, this would be a lot of pleasure for the other player.

"Of course I'd like to do that - tomorrow [Saturday] is an opportunity."

Williams claims her 2014 defeat to Muguruza represented an "unbelievable lesson" and the top seed will be determined to bounce back from her losses to Vinci and Kerber by securing a fourth triumph at Roland Garros.

It would take a brave person to back against the reigning champion. Do not be surprised, though, if Muguruza is able to celebrate a breakthrough success on Saturday.