Hello, and welcome to Sports Mole
's live coverage of the Wimbledon
final between Serena Williams
and Garbine Muguruza
When the draw was made just over two weeks ago, pretty much everyone would have expected Serena Williams to reach her eighth final at SW19, but I doubt that anyone would have predicted the progress of Garbine Muguruza. Does that give her any less of a chance this afternoon? Not at all. The Spaniard, despite being a considerable underdog, is in the form of her life and has a chance of pulling off what would be a huge upset.
This afternoon's final gets underway shortly after 2pm, BST, so while you wait and, of course, follow this commentary, how about head over to our Wimbledon page
and see the latest news ahead of the final.
In the build-up to today's final, Muguruza has stated that she won't be afraid
of facing Serena, and why would she be? The two players have only ever met in Grand Slam tournaments, and in the last two, Muguruza has more than held her own. At last year's Roland Garros, the 21-year-old produced the best performance of her career to knock Williams out of the French Open, and while she suffered a three-set defeat in Melbourne at the start of 2015, she will take plenty of belief that she tested the world number one on a fast court.
The world number 20 will also be confident having dispatched a number of big names on her way to the final. Angelique Kerber and Caroline Wozniacki were defeated on the way to the semi-finals, where she would meet 2012 finalist Agnieszka Radwanska. It was a 50-50 clash but the Spaniard held her nerve in the final set, rediscovering her touch to come back from a break down to run out a 6-3 victor in the third.
As for Serena, she has admitted that Muguruza's previous form against her makes her wary
heading into today's contest. Williams is favourite to prevail on Centre Court but the 21st seed definitely possesses the power to cause her some problems.
Like Muguruza, Williams has had to overcome some fierce competition to earn her place in the final. She was on the brink of defeat against Great Britain's Heather Watson before displaying all of her fighting qualities to win late in the third. Victories over sister Venus and Victoria Azarenka followed before she comfortably dispatched Maria Sharapova in the last four. The 20-time Grand Slam winner may have encountered some problems in her first six matches, but her serving performance against Sharapova suggested that she is ready to deliver her best form this afternoon.
PREDICTION! Despite the difference in achievements and experience, this is a difficult one to call. If either player is given the time to dictate, they will likely come out on top. Muguruza has nothing to lose by playing aggressive tennis this afternoon but Williams is determined to complete the third quarter of the calendar Grand Slam and could prove difficult to beat. Serena in two sets, with perhaps one tie-break.
The two players are getting ready to make the famous walk onto Centre Court. Muguruza is limbering up in the corridors while Williams has popped for a last-minute toilet break.
Finally, the finalists make their way onto Centre to a rapturous ovation. As usual, Serena looks business-like, while Muguruza is savouring the moment. I think that she's just going to try to enjoy today. The only expectation on the Spaniard is the pressure placed by herself.
The toss has been won by Williams, who has elected to serve first. Understandable - she has been an ace-making machine over the past few matches.
Muguruza has spent 80 minutes more on court than Serena. Will that make a difference? If anything, it might benefit Muguruza because heading into the tournament, she had very little form on grass. The further she has progressed in this tournament, she has only improved.
Right then, we are ready to get underway. It will be Serena to serve first. Game on!
BREAK! Williams opens with a double fault, but she makes up for it with an authoritative smash. The first ace of the match takes her to 30-15, before a forehand winner into the corner tells Muguruza that she is already tuned in to this match. However, Muguruza catches the line for 40-30 before two double faults in a row hand the Spaniard a break point! Williams saves a couple of break points, while a third is saved with a big second serve. Muguruza gets a fourth opportunity , and this time, she takes it when Serena drills a backhand long.
After the opening two points are shared, Williams blasts another backhand long. This has been a shaky start so far. A second-serve return is then dumped into the net, but Muguruza does the same from the baseline to take the score to 40-30. However, Muguruza holds when Serena misses again with a return and she has the advantage in the early stages.
Muguruza has started this final brilliantly, but she is frustrated with herself having missed a second-serve return to move to 0-40. Serena fires back to reach 30-30 before another huge serve earns her game point. The hold is complete when the Spaniard goes for too much with a return.
Both players trade winners on the opening two points before Muguruza registers her first ace. However, Serena is warming into this now and a smash helps her reach deuce. The Spaniard holds on though when Serena makes a couple of mistakes.
Williams continues her improvement with a dominant hold to 15. As long as she keeps this up, she will believe that chances will arise on Muguruza's serve as she attempts to win her first set in a Grand Slam final.
Serena appears to have got accustomed to the Muguruza serve now and a first serve is drilled straight back at the Spaniard for 15-30. That soon becomes two break points when Muguruza goes long, but the first is saved by some huge hitting from inside the court. The 21st seed does the same on the next point, taking the game to deuce, before Muguruza registers two more points courtesy of first serves to get herself out of trouble. Big hold.
A third ace of the afternoon gets Serena off to a positive start before she quickly sweeps through the rest of the game with help of more huge serves for a love hold.
BREAK! Muguruza starts the game well, but Williams's hitting is relentless now and the Spaniard is struggling to cope. It's two break points for Serena, and although the first is saved with an ace, the second sees Muguruza blaze a forehand long. We are back on serve.
Williams commits her fourth double fault to allow Muguruza a look at 15-15 but the world number one is producing close to her 'A' game now and a backhand winner from inside the court ensures that Muguruza must serve to remain in this set.
SET! Muguruza quickly falls 0-15 down after a backhand winner from the American, but she replies with a well-struck backhand of her own. Williams moves two points away, but back comes Muguruza, who catches the line with a shot off the round. Her third ace of the day earns game point, but Serena responds with a strong return. A double fault gives set point to Williams, and it's taken with a brutal forehand winner from the back of the court.
Two aces and a wild Muguruza forehand allow Williams to reach 40-15, before Muguruza just misses the baseline with a return. Important service game coming up.
Muguruza begins with two welcome points behind her first serve, because she's given a third successive free point when Serena goes long with a return. A love hold is complete when another return is miscued. She'll be delighted with that.
A seventh ace for Serena is cancelled out by her fifth double fault, which increases to six to give her opponent a look at 15-30. However, Williams reaches game point when two serves aren't returned but Muguruza remains in the game when the American goes long. The world number one holds on though, and we remain on serve in this second set.
BREAK! Whether it's nerves or the volume of power shots that are coming back at her, Muguruza is wilting now. The American registers four points in a row to secure what could be the decisive break.
Another ace down the middle takes Williams to 15-0 before a big first serve sees the Spaniard go long with a return. A second ace of the game - the ninth of the match - earns three game points, and the first is taken when a forehand is miscued by the 21st seed. This match could be over very, very soon.
BREAK! Muguruza slips 0-30 down as Williams senses the early finish, and three break points are created when the Spaniard goes long. She only needs one as a flat forehand isn't dealt with by the world number 20 and Serena will now serve for her sixth Wimbledon title.
BREAK! Muguruza shows some fight by stepping into court to drive a backhand into the corner before Serena concedes another double fault, her seventh of the match. Surely there aren't nerves just yet? Muguruza earns three break points with a booming forehand from the back of the court and a Williams error sees one of the breaks retrieved. The start of a miraculous comeback? You never know.
Serena misses out with a backhand down the line and Muguruza has 30-0. Six points in a row now. That run ends when Serena is successful with a backhand on this occasion, but a poor forehand hands the Spaniard two game points. Both are saved by Serena, but Muguruza seals the hold with some aggressive play from the baseline.
BREAK! What is going on here? An eighth double fault from Williams is followed by a backhand passing shot from Muguruza. This is getting interesting. The plot thickens when Muguruza unleashes a magnificent backhand return winner for three break points, before Williams registers a 10th ace. A big first serve reduces the score 30-40, before another ace saves the third break point. This is brilliant. It gets better - an ace registering 121mph takes Serena to Championship point before Muguruza delivers the most impressive of replies as a forehand is drilled into the corner. The Spaniard then hits one of the biggest returns you'll ever see to reach a fourth break point but she goes agonisingly long with a backhand. An epic rally ends with Serena netting a forehand for a fifth break point for Muguruza, and this time, she takes it with a crunching forehand winner. This is incredible!
BREAK! Muguruza opens with a double fault, before Serena gets incredibly fortunately with a net cord to reach 0-30. That's cruel on her opponent. The 21st seed then goes long with a backhand and it's three more Championship points for Williams. She only needs one, though, and after Muguruza goes wide, Serena can celebrate her sixth Wimbledon title.
There were stages in that match where we were witnessing the current number one overpowered by surely a future world number one, but it was current incumbent who would prevail on Centre Court this afternoon. It's been three years since she won her last SW19 crown but she can finally celebrate a sixth title, as well as moving ever close to the calendar Grand Slam.
That will be all for Sports Mole's coverage of this match. We hope that you can still around for all of the reaction from SW19, while we hope to see you for the men's final between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer tomorrow afternoon. Goodbye for now.