Serena downs Sharapova again

Serena Williams has powered into her eighth Wimbledon final as the world No.1 maintained her 11-year mastery of Maria Sharapova with a 6-2 6-4 demolition.

Williams took just 79 minutes on Thursday to blitz Sharapova off centre court with 13 aces and 29 winners as the five-time Wimbledon champion secured her 18th career win in 20 meetings with her bitter rival.

The 33-year-old American will face Spanish 20th seed Garbine Muguruza on Saturday in her first Wimbledon final since 2012.

It will be her 25th grand slam final as she eyes a 21st major title.

“I got a little nervous because it was the semi-finals and it’s a long time since I’ve been this far at Wimbledon. I’m excited to get through,” said Williams, who didn’t allow Sharapova a single break point.

“It wasn’t easy out there, but when she stepped up her game, I was able to step up mine.

“The feeling gets better. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the final here. It’s really cool.”

Williams, who extended her winning run at grand slams to 27 matches and her 2015 record to 38-1, is just one win away from holding all four major titles at the same time – a feat she last achieved in 2002-03.

She is also within touching distance of becoming the first woman to win the French Open and Wimbledon back-to-back since she last achieved that difficult double in 2002.

And, adding to the wealth of historic milestones in her sights, Serena remains in the hunt to be the first woman since Steffi Graf in 1988 to win a calendar-year grand glam.

It was another chastening defeat for Sharapova and, although the Russian is due to return from fourth to No.2 in the rankings next week, the latest instalment of their one-sided rivalry provided further proof of the vast gulf in class.

Sharapova has to go back 11 years to recall her last success against Williams and had won only one set in their last 12 encounters.

Earlier, Muguruza became the first Spanish woman in 19 years to reach the Wimbledon final with a rollercoaster 6-2 3-6 6-3 win over Poland’s 13th seed and former runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska.

Aranxta Sanchez-Vicario was the last Spanish woman to make the final at the All England Club while Conchita Martinez was the last champion in 1994.

Muguruza had to endure some nervy moments before she secured her maiden grand slam final spot, seeing a 3-1 lead in the second disappear against the three-time semi-finalist.

Muguruza, who has only one tour title to her name, then took victory with a power-packed flowing forehand, her 39th winner of the contest.

“I have worked all my life for this, I have no words,” said 20th seed Muguruza, who will climb into the top 10 for the first time next week.

“It was a tough match. Agnieszka has so much experience but I just wanted to keep fighting.”

Muguruza said she expected her parents and brother to fly to London to see Saturday’s final having told them to stay away as not to jinx her progress.

The world No.20 will be a big underdog in the final, but she did defeat Williams at the French Open last year.

Contesting her first grand slam semi-final after back-to-back runs to Roland Garros quarter-finals, Muguruza had already enjoyed an impressive tournament.

The Spaniard had knocked out fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki and 10th-seeded Angelique Kerber to make the last four.

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