Garbiñe Muguruza, you can proclaim the four winds, is again that great tennis player who not long ago celebrated Grand Slams and ruled in women’s tennis, recovered for the cause after two courses of storms that forced him to make drastic decisions. The Spanish, betrayed by her face, is in the final of the Australian Open after beating Simona Halep 7-6 (8) and 7-5 in a titanic encounter and which was played with the mercury fired, asphyxiating almost 40 degrees in the sun at the Rod Laver Arena. In that scenario, finally regained its presence on the important tracks and in the decisive rounds, Muguruza was solid as few times, and there is the great news that is extracted from this tournament. He can win it or not, he is only one step away, but the reality is that he has become a champion who seemed lost. On Saturday, in the final, it is measured with Sofia Kenin, who was surprised to defeat Ashleigh Barty 7-6 (6) and 7-5. The 21-year-old American won in the only precedent between the two and has already claimed to be top 10 no matter what happens in Melbourne.
There are reasons that invite us to think that we are facing a reborn Muguruza, freed from the burden of the past, happy now that he listens to the advice of Conchita Martínez. Muguruza, temperamental by nature, shows these days of an amazing seriousness, focused on what he touches and competitive in each ball, something that has not always happened. No one doubts the magnificent benefits of the Spanish, but their desire and delivery were questioned, because it even came to give the feeling that defeat was part of their day to day life without altering it too much.
It disturbed him, of course it disturbed him, but he was a tennis player trapped in his doubts, logical the process because he began to win things when he was very young and he caught himself in the daily requirement. Muguruza is a bomb for the good and for the bad, and finally it seems now that it has redirected the situation. This start of the course, summed up in the semifinals of Shenzhen, the Hobart quarters (abandoned due to illness) and this magnificent result in Melbourne, serves as a thermometer. Looks very good.
The semifinal against Halep demanded another tenacity exercise, more complicated if possible than the previous ones because the Romanian is a rock, the most consistent and stable player on the circuit. Beyond its qualities, which are very many, Halep has the virtue of being very regular in an unstable world, and his route to this round did not present a single stain. Without losing a single set (he only reached the tie break in the first of the tournament, against Brady), Halep reached the appointment of Muguruza full of confidence, but on alert.
It is not for less being like this Muguruza, who had to save two break balls in the first game to serve and had temper to understand the development of the game. There were no very long exchanges in those beginnings, nor wonderful points, but there was a lot of trade on the part of both, each in its own way. Halep and Muguruza, both with two Grand Slams (coincidentally have won Roland Garros and Wimbledon), expressed their respects and, above all, tried to avoid mistakes, a match of those where a carelessness is lethal.
Muguruza’s face lit up when he made a break in the seventh game, but he wasted the rent when he took, with 5-4, to sign up for the set. The racket shook him there, something similar to fear, and delivered his blank service to give encouragement to Halep, a competitor with a thousand lives and who understood the magnitude of the moment by pressing his rival there to the fullest. From 5-3 he went to 5-6 with two set balls for the Romanian, although Muguruza, superb there, reacted on time and with courage to take the fight to the tie break, of capital importance.
In that sudden death there were turns of all kinds, going from 3-0 from Muguruza to 3-4 for Halep and from there to 6-4 for the Caracas, two set balls for her. The first escaped from a right that was long and the second was a tremendous winner of Halep to the line, there can only be applauded. Then it was Muguruza who saved another borderline situation, but was shot in the foot by committing a double foul that once again granted Halep a privileged situation. Nor did she take advantage of Constanta’s courtesy (four set balls she lost in total) and finally it was the Spanish woman who won the jackpot after an agonizing tie break that perfectly sums up the partial and concentration of Muguruza, which in other times I would have lost along the way.
He entered the game in a very strange phase and now the 32nd of the world did not know how to finish off his enemy, so angry that he took a racket at the end of that first set. Muguruza had a clear opportunity to break and get 2-0, but in those games the order was lost, everything got dirty. There was an inexplicable break carousel, much more erratic rackets, and the heat made a dent, understandable in any case. Halep, however, won the opportunity to match the match and took 5-4 to force the third, but Muguruza, tremendous, closed the door and grew in adversity.
His victory was great, for what it means and for the ways. He finished big, playing very well when he played, conveying brutal security. Muguruza, definitely, is again Muguruza, a champion willing to achieve the third major of his career. He has it to shot. .