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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

1:35PM

A Wimbledon of pain for Murray and joy for Querrey

By Art Spander

WIMBLEDON, England — Yes, Andy Murray, the defending champion, the Olympic champion, the No. 1 player in the world, was hurting. You could see it in his walk. You could see it in his grimace.

But maybe what you couldn’t see was the progress of Sam Querrey, who for the first time in a career that’s been going more than a decade has made to the semifinals of one of tennis's four biggest events, arguably the biggest of those four, the All-England Championships.

Querrey, the hang-loose guy from southern California, beat Murray 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-1, 6-1 on Wednesday in a quarterfinal that maybe, considering where it was held, on a Centre Court surrounded almost entirely by Murray fans, was a shock. Or, acknowledging Murray’s aching right hip, wasn’t shocking at all.  

Murray had made it through four rounds, had the lead in this round, needed only one more game to advance. But either the hip that he said has bothered him for years, if not as seriously as in the last month, or Querrey wouldn’t allow Andy to get that set.

Injuries happen. You play with pain. That’s a cliché of sport, a truism. Or if you’re unable, you withdraw. Which is what Novak Djokovic did in the second set of his quarters match Wednesday against Tomas Berdych because of his right elbow. “Unfortunate I had to finish Wimbledon that way,” Djokovic said.

He was the 2015 (and ’14 and ’11) winner. Murray was the 2016 (and ’13) winner. So the men who took the last the last four Wimbledons (and five of the last six) are out of ’17 because of injuries. The body takes a beating. You gut it out, or you pull out.

“If you play,” Venus Williams said here a few years ago, “you’re not hurt. If you’re hurt, you don’t play.”

Murray was hurt, and he did play. No champion wants to let his title go without a fight. “I tried my best,” said Murray, who will not slip from the top of the rankings. “Right to the end. Gave it everything I had. I’m proud about that.”

And then he said something that shouldn’t be overlooked, about the competence of his opponent. “Sam served extremely well at the end of the match,” said Murray. “You know. Loosened up. Was going for his shots. Nothing much I could do.”

There was plenty Querrey could do. As Murray said, Querrey served well. He had 27 aces, compared to Murray’s eight. That’s always been Sam’s game, power.

He’s always had potential, too. Standing 6-foot-6, he turned pro out of Thousand Oaks High instead of going to USC, mainly because his father, Mike, thought about his own decision.

Mike was a ballplayer. He had a chance to sign with the Detroit Tigers out of high school but instead enrolled at Arizona. “I didn’t want to ride the bus to Shreveport.” Mike told the New York Times. After college, he married and went to work in Northern California, where Sam was born. Then Mike tried to restart his baseball career, but he couldn’t.

The memory haunted him. He didn’t want Sam to make a similar mistake.

Sam’s career has been acceptable. But it was supposed to be remarkable. Finally last year he beat Djokovic, the defending champion, in Wimbledon’s third round. Now he beats Murray, the defending champion, in the quarters.

“It’s a really big deal,” said Querrey. “For me. It’s my first semifinal.”

Where on Friday he’ll meet Marin Cilic, who beat Gilles Muller, the guy who upset Rafa Nadal.

In the other semi, Roger Federer faces Berdych. Federer has won 18 Slams, won Wimbledon seven times. Cilic won the 2014 U.S. Open. Berdych was a Wimbledon finalist. They’ve been there, done that.

Sam Querrey still is trying.

"I was probably a little more fired up (Wednesday), especially in the fourth and fifth sets," said Querrey. ”There’s a little more on the line.”

Querrey said he didn’t intentionally attempt to take advantage of Murray’s injury. “Not at all really,” affirmed Querrey. “I kind of noticed it a little bit from the beginning. But I just stayed with my game. I tried to stay aggressive. I didn’t want to alter my game and get into those cat-and-mouse points because that’s where he’s really good. 

“I just kept my foot down and just kept trying to pound the ball.”

And Murray couldn’t respond.

“Not many people get to play tennis professionally,” Querrey said, “let alone play at Wimbledon, play on Centre Court, play against Andy Murray. It’s something that few people get to do, so it’s really special. Really proud.”

He should be. As Andy Murray, battling against his body, should be.