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4:16PM

Newsday (N.Y.): Royal Birkdale tough but ‘a fair test’ for British Open, says Jordan Spieth

By Art Spander
Special to Newsday

SOUTHPORT, England — The town, all Victorian architecture and weathered citizens, somehow escaped the 19th Century. Southport, 25 miles up the coast from Liverpool, has dance halls, pubs and entertainment featuring comedians who apparently are funny if you understand English, as opposed to American.

It also has one of the great golf courses anywhere, Royal Birkdale, a place of 50-foot sand hills and wonderful history — just check the plaque to Arnold Palmer on the 16th fairway — stretched across a lunar landscape but hardly stretching the imagination when it comes to deserving champions, a list that includes Palmer, Johnny Miller, Lee Trevino and Tom Watson.

Read the full story here.

Copyright © 2017 Newsday. All rights reserved.

4:56PM

Newsday (N.Y.): Roger Federer wins 8th Wimbledon title, beats Cilic

By Art Spander
Special to Newsday

WIMBLEDON, England — It was less a match than a mismatch. Roger Federer, arguably the best male tennis player ever, who was going to win another Wimbledon anyway, in the final against a man with a blister on his foot and tears in his eyes, Marin Cilic.

Federer needed only one hour, 41 minutes to become the first eight-time winner of the Wimbledon men’s singles title, gaining an embarrassingly easy 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 victory. Pete Sampras and 19th century player William Renshaw each won seven.

Read the full story here.

Copyright © 2017 Newsday. All rights reserved.

7:15PM

Time and Muguruza overwhelm Venus

By Art Spander

WIMBLEDON, England — The end was as depressing as the rest of Venus Williams’ historic career had been enlightening. She not only lost what likely could be the last Wimbledon final in which she plays, Williams was battered, perhaps as much by time as by her opponent, the new champion, Garbine Muguruza.

One moment Saturday, it seemed Williams was in control, a point away from breaking serve and winning the game and the first set. The next moment, she had lost nine straight games and the match, 7-5, 6-0 — yes, blanked, a bagel — and Muguruza playfully was balancing the trophy, the Venus Rosewater Dish, on her head.

Suddenly, at 37, Williams’ age seemed to catch up with her as much as Muguruza’s forehands.

Her attempt to become the oldest women’s champion in the open era, which began in 1968, and the second-oldest in the 131 years of Wimbledons, came to a shattering finish.

There were reminders of the final days of Joe Namath or Willie Mays, of a great athlete who had stayed too long at the fair, although Williams, just by getting as far as she did, winning her other six matches, showed she still belongs among the best.

The problem is the way she closed, or the way Muguruza closed out Williams.

“There’s errors and you can’t make them,” said Williams. ”I went for some big shots, and they didn’t land. I think she played amazing. I’ve had a great two weeks.”

That was it.

But on BBC television, John McEnroe, never short of opinions, wondered if Williams was feeling the effects of the autoimmune disease, Sjogren’s syndrome she announced she had in 2011 or the effects of the two weeks of competition.

“Her forehand let her down,” said McEnroe, the New Yorker who won Wimbledon three times. “Her legs looked old. She has Muguruza down 15-40 to win the first set, and it was like a punch in the gut.”

More like some beautiful ground strokes from Muguruza, who won a 19-stroke rally that appeared to deflate Williams.

When asked if she were tired, Williams, to her credit, only would say, “She played amazing.”

Muguruza is only the second Spaniard to take the women’s singles title of the All-England Lawn Tennis Championships. The other, Conchita Martinez, defeated another 37-year-old, Martina Navratilova, in the 1994 final. Martinez now is one of Muguruza’s coaches.

Navratilova won nine Wimbledons. Williams won five and, including this one, has been a finalist four other times. Venus’ younger sister, Serena, beat Muguruza in the 2015 final.

“She told me one day I’m going to win,” Muguruza said about Serena. “And here I am.”

The day began with a light rain, and so the folding translucent roof, installed above Centre Court before the 2009 tournament, was unfolded. That didn’t appear to make any difference except in crowd noise, although other than on Williams’ ‘thundering ace on the very first shot of the match the fans were relatively subdued until the closing games of the first set.

Then, as Venus faded and Muguruza took control, some began to shout encouragement — “Come on, Venus” — but it was of little use.

“Her mind, her body,” McEnroe said of Williams, “wasn’t up to the task.”

Williams lost in the semifinals last year and in January reached the finals of the Australian Open, only to lose to Serena, who then announced she was awaiting the birth of her first child and would not compete for a while. Venus will enter the U.S. Open next month at Flushing Meadows.

“Yeah, definitely now that I’m in good form,” she insisted. ”I’ve been in a position this year to contend for big titles. That’s the kind of position I want to keep putting myself in. It’s just about getting over the line. I believe I can do that.

“I like to win. I don’t want to just get to the final. It’s just about playing a little better.”

4:40PM

Newsday (N.Y.): Sam Querrey’s Wimbledon run ended by Marin Cilic in semis; Roger Federer advances to final

By Art Spander
Special to Newsday

WIMBLEDON, England — He played well. Sam Querrey said that about himself. He knew he was a good tennis player. But Friday it wasn’t quite good enough.
Marin Cilic of Croatia, who has won a Grand Slam tournament, who was a higher seed, who was 4-0 against Querrey, beat him in a Wimbledon semifinal, 6-7 (6), 6-4, 7-6 (3), 7-5. Function followed form.

Copyright © 2017 Newsday. All rights reserved.

4:22PM

Newsday (N.Y.): Wimbledon: Venus Williams to face Garbine Muguruza in 9th final

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