Wimbledon 2015: I've beaten Serena Williams so I am not afraid of her, says Garbine Muguruza

Muguruza inflicted a rare defeat on Williams in last year’s French Open

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You can never be sure how a player will handle the pressure in their first Grand Slam final, but Garbine Muguruza gives the impression that she can take everything in her stride. The 21-year-old Spaniard will go into her Centre Court showdown with Serena Williams here this afternoon believing that her opponent could be just as nervous as she might be.

Victories in the last week over Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki and Agnieszka Radwanska have strengthened Muguruza’s self-confidence, but it is the memory of her remarkable 6-2, 6-2 victory over Williams at last year’s French Open that gives the world No 20 her biggest reason for optimism.

“It’s really important because it makes you see and realise that she’s also a person,” Muguruza said yesterday. “She also has feelings. She is also nervous. She knows that I can beat her and I’m not afraid. I don’t think she’s really used to this. Serena doesn’t lose that many matches in the year.”

Muguruza said that Williams had been an example and an inspiration to her and recalled dreaming about playing the American in the final here when she was just eight. “Now, 11 years later, it’s happening,” Muguruza said. “It’s amazing.”

Statistically almost everything is in Williams’ favour. The world No 1 has won 67 titles, including 20 at Grand Slam level, and $69.7m (about £45m) in career prize-money. Muguruza has won just one title (at a minor tournament in Australia last year) and has career earnings of $2.5m (£1.6m).

Muguruza played most of her tennis in Spain as a junior rather than on the international circuit. Her Venezuelan mother and Spanish father moved to Barcelona, where she has been based ever since, when she was six. However, it was only last year that she decided to represent Spain rather than Venezuela in the Fed Cup.

Her early progress as a senior was halted by an ankle injury which required surgery two summers ago, but she made big strides last year after winning her first tournament. Standing 6ft tall, she is a powerful ball-striker who enjoys playing on all surfaces.

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Serena Williams celebrates after her second-round victory over Timea Babos (Getty)

“I’m changing every week,” she smiled. “When I’m playing well, I love this surface. When I’m playing badly, I hate this surface. I’m kind of like this. Actually now I love grass.”

Muguruza said she would play aggressively from the start. “I think that’s the game I have to play against everyone, not just Serena,” she said. “That’s my game. I have to be focused on doing it every match. I want this to be my style of play.”

Williams is expecting a difficult afternoon. “It’s definitely not an easy match-up,” she said. “We had a tough match the last time we played and she’s given me problems in the past. So this time I have to just go in, have fun and do the best that I can, just try to stay positive and stay focused.”

Muguruza was asked if she thought it would be possible to enjoy the occasion and win. “I want to enjoy it because it’s a very special moment,” the Spaniard said. “And I want to win tomorrow. I feel like it’s something I can do.”

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