SPAIN'S Garbiñe Muguruza has beaten Venus Williams 7-5, 6-0 to take the 2017 Wimbledon singles title – the first time a Spanish woman has won Wimbledon since Conchita Martínez in 1994.
Martínez, who took the title in the year Garbiñe was born, beating the USA's Martina Navratilova in the final, can now claim a vicarious second victory at the UK Grand Slam as this year's 23-year-old winner hired her as a stand-in coach for the tournament.
Born in Caracas, Venezuela but with a Spanish father and dual nationality, Muguruza lost to the other Williams sister, Serena, in her first Wimbledon final in 2015, but admits she was 'younger and less experienced' then and had been feeling much more confident before facing Venus.
Although she has reached two Grand Slam finals this year, Venus, 37, has not won a major title since 2008 and, had she taken the Wimbledon trophy, would have been the oldest woman to win a Grand Slam since the start of the Open era.
Of her battle in Centre Court, where she saved two set points and the match looked as though it could have gone either way for the first 40 minutes, Garbiñe said she had 'always dreamed of winning', but was nonetheless 'composed'.
She said Venus gave her the 'hardest match ever' and was an 'incredible player' whom she had 'grown up watching play', given the 14-year age difference between them.
Seeded just 14th, Garbiñe was considered something of an outsider, having only scooped up one Grand Slam title in her career, at Roland Garros last year.
That time, she beat Serena Williams in the final, making her the first player to become both sisters' nemesis in major tournaments.
And Serena herself had predicted that 'one day' Garbiñe would win Wimbledon.
But it was far from plain sailing for 'Garbi', as she is known to friends and family. Facing two set points against her at 4-5 down in the first set, she pulled out all the stops to even the scores, and then stepped her tennis up a level to take the first set 7-5.
A double fault by Venus at the opening of set two, and her play becoming noticeably slower, meant Garbiñe was able to take advantage of her rival's reduced reaction times with four consecutive breaks, winning nine games in a row to clinch the title.
Venus, who admitted she missed her sister – currently at home in the USA and due to give birth to her first baby – was gracious about her defeat, saying she thinks ''there will be other opportunities".
Williams' loss was partly put down to her being conspicuously tired – her fatigue began to show by the second set, according to former Wimbledon women's championships.
Tomorrow (Sunday) will bring the tournament to a close with the gentlemen's final, this time between Croatia's Marin Cilic and Switzerland's Roger Federer.
“Give her a hug from me”
Former King Juan Carlos I was at Wimbledon watching Garbiñe Muguruza in her final battle and, when meeting her to congratulate her on her victory, revealed that the current monarch had asked him to pass on his regards.
According to the Rex Emeritus: “My son has just called me and said, if you see her, give her a hug from me.”
And Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario – described as possibly the best Spanish female player in the history of tennis – was standing nearby when Juan Carlos I and Garbiñe met.
She said: “You've got the talisman here – whenever he comes along, you always win. I can tell you that from experience.”
They are pictured above left (photograph by Movístar Tenis).