Garbine Muguruza def Serena Williams 7-5, 6-4
|Historymakers: Djokovic completes the set, Muguruza begins her own|
As good as she’s been in flashes over the years, and a consistent top-ten player, few would confidently say that Angelique Kerber would ever win a major tournament. Much less would fancy the German to triumph against a Serena Williams only one shock loss away last year from another calendar slam.
And yet, in January, that is of course what happened in a thrilling and high quality encounter.
With Garbine Muguruza, we have a similar story albeit with some key differences. The Spaniard has her own aura – helped by being a somewhat surprise package still, and further cemented with a previous final appearance and a few notable upsets (not least here against Serena two years ago).
She has power and a no-nonsense hitting style that also incorporates grace, flair and intelligence.
But – unlike in Australia, her illustrious opponent really didn’t play well in this contest.
Quite what is happening to Serena is unclear, yes she is still the best player on the tour and perfectly capable of wrapping up the biggest prizes remaining this year. But you sense that self-belief, commitment and undoubtedly ageing bones are beginning to diminish her own aura.
Interesting times ahead, but for now we should revel in the emergence of more new stars at the top of the women’s game.
Novak Djokovic def Andy Murray 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4
No surprises here I’m afraid – Novak was never going to be denied this final missing piece of an ever growing jigsaw. Or at least, to be brutally honest – his Scottish opponent just doesn’t possess the mental or physical weapons to mount a consistent challenge.
It is a tired notion, but Murray would have been the best in the game in another generation, instead he has had to play (largely) second fiddle to a trio of peers.
I still maintain he will have his own chance to claim a career slam – but that is for another post.
This was Novak’s moment and – like Roger and Andre before him – Paris represented the culmination of a dominance that transcends all surfaces. The Serb will no doubt go on to dominate the game further and will be seen – statistically at least – as the GOAT.
Does it matter that Djokovic lacks the warmth, character and persona of his current rivals or of the great champions he hollowly tries to emulate? Not really; we have been spoiled by Federer and Nadal’s genuine love for the game and appreciation for each other and of Murray’s own raw passion and emotion that have endeared him to a reluctant home fan-base and have enriched the top of the men’s game.
Pics from Roland Garros website