Serena Williams is refusing to talk about ‘Serena Slam’, but it’s happening nonetheless. Only the world number one knows firsthand she’ll be made to work extra hard for it by Garbine Muguruza.
Holding all four of tennis’ Grand Slam titles at the same time is nothing new to the incredible force of nature that is Williams.
The younger sister of Venus achieved the feat back in 2002/03, but although she has since gone on to stockpile another 15 Slams, a repeat of this particular achievement has eluded her.
An up-and-coming star of women’s tennis is what stands between Williams and her aspirations a decade later, which include closing to within two SW19 titles of all-time record holder Martina Navratilova – who won nine.
The Ladbrokes odds would suggest this Saturday outing on Centre Court will be a stroll for Williams, installed as she is at a drum-tight price of 1/7.
However, there is plenty of evidence to suggest 21-year-old Muguruza is a great deal more threatening than her price of 9/2 implies.
It’s not only the trail of top seeds left in the naturalised Spaniard’s wake either. The pair have crossed Grand Slam swords three times and Muguruza was victorious in the second of those clashes, taking Serena apart 6-2, 6-2 in last year’s French Open second round.
This year’s Australian Open is perhaps more of a benchmark though, where she again stormed into a first set lead, before Williams gathered her composure to come back strongly, taking the contest 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.
When incorporating the stunning stat that Muguruza has prised at least one set off the current top 10 players in the world over her past 15 matches against them, the 13/8 about the underdog getting on the board in this final looks ripe.
Muguruza is a player blessed with the physique to generate a similar brand of fierce power in her groundstrokes that she will be facing from the other side of the net and crucially, in her serve too.
Punters may also be interested in some first-set symmetry. Serena has won each of her three Slam finals to set up this historic chance after taking the first set 6-3, a scoreline also available at 7/2.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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