To mark the end of an incredible 2017 season, we're counting down the Top 5 Grand Slam matches of the year!
No.2 is Garbiñe Muguruza's Manic Monday takedown of World No.1 Angelique Kerber in three titanic sets.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) 10 de julio de 2017
A battle of two former finalists lived up to its billing on a stacked Manic Monday at Wimbledon, as No.14 seed Garbiñe Muguruza ended top seed Angelique Kerber's tournament, and reign at World No.1, with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory in the round of 16.
It was a tremendous fightback from an inspired Muguruza who, it felt, seemed always on the brink of losing the match as she withstood everything Kerber’s rock solid defense threw her way.
Read the match report: Muguruza ousts Kerber in Wimbledon thriller
In the decisive third set, Muguruza didn’t crumble under the pressure in a 10-minute service game to squeak out the hold at 4-3, batting away four break points to keep them on serve. The push and pull continued until the end, when the Spaniard pounced on a weak service game to break for the match.
The ultra-aggressive Muguruza dictated proceedings in the two-hour, 18-minute encounter, as she struck a whopping 55 winners to Kerber's 27 - while also striking 50 unforced errors. Most importantly, Muguruza held firm on the big moments to save seven of 10 break points she faced.
Kerber was a tidy plus-15 in her winner to unforced error ratio - 27 to 12 - as she forced the Spaniard to come up with her best time and again.
WHAT THEY SAID:
After the match, Muguruza credited a slight change of strategy in attack as the key to victory.
"When you have somebody that it's so, you know, physically strong, so solid, the more you win free points or make it shorter, it's better," she assessed. "It's also part of my game. Like I said before, I like to don't wait 20 shots. You know, I go for it. Today I think was a key to make short points sometimes."
WTA Insider Live Blog: As It Happened: Muguruza ends Kerber's reign at No.1
Kerber, on the other hand, had been playing her best tennis of the year before running up against an inspired Muguruza.
"I think we both play a good match, but at the end, I think just two points that decided the match,” she said. “Of course I'm disappointed that I lost the match, because I was really playing good. Just one can win, and that was not me today.
"I will try, of course, to coming back [to] and being one day again the No.1. Right now, I'm really happy that I find my game back. I'm on court playing good tennis again."
WHAT IT MEANS:
Muguruza came into Wimbledon looking for inspiration after 12 months without a title and looking to shake off the heartbreak of falling in the fourth round of the French Open, where she was the defending champion. The Spaniard would go on to end the fortnight in London by capturing her second Grand Slam title and, later on, the WTA World No.1 ranking.
Not only did this propel Muguruza back into the winner’s circle, it galvanized her whole season. Her newfound consistency led her to claim the title in Cincinnati and reach the quarterfinals or better at five of her next seven events, capping it all off with an appearance at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global for the third straight year.
But for then-World No.1 Kerber, the loss marked a fifth straight defeat to Muguruza and the end of her reign at the top. A disappointing start to the season saw her ranking come under fire several times - briefly losing the top spot to Serena Williams - but she needed to reach the final at Wimbledon to retain it. Kerber’s stint at No.1 finally ended with a total of 34 weeks to her name - which ranks 12th all-time.