Williams eventually held her serve in that game, then broke Konta in the next game to win the set. The second set was not so difficult for Williams, who maintained her composure and high level of play to ride out the victory against Konta.

In the final game, Konta saved two match points, but at deuce she double-faulted. On the next point, Williams hit a forehand winner down the line to win and raised her arms in triumph.

Going into the tournament, many felt there were several contenders for the women’s title because Williams’s sister, Serena Williams, who tends to dominate the women’s tour, did not enter because she is pregnant. Now it could be Venus Williams who takes full advantage of her sister’s absence.

Photo

Garbiñe Muguruza during her semifinal match against Magdalena Rybarikova on Thursday at Wimbledon.

Credit
Adrian Dennis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“Usually it’s her in these finals,” Venus Williams said immediately after the match in a BBC television interview, “so I’m going to represent the Williamses as best I can.”

Muguruza, the French Open champion last year, also reached the final here in 2015, when she lost to Serena Williams in straight sets. But now she may be playing her best tennis. She has lost only one set in the tournament, and that was during her upset of the No. 1 seed, Angelique Kerber, in the fourth round. She came back after that and dismissed Svetlana Kuznetsova in straight sets in the quarterfinals.

The match on Thursday was the easiest of all, an utter destruction in public view, including Muguruza’s coach, Conchita Martinez, the 1994 champion here. While Muguruza hit freely and moved with a fluid ease, Rybarikova’s performance was disappointing on its own. She had won 18 of her last 19 matches on grass, but on the biggest stage of her career she was overwhelmed by nerves, frustration and a merciless opponent.

Rybarikova had reasons to feel confident, too. She and Muguruza had an even record, 2-2, coming into the match, and Rybarikova had won the most recent meeting, on grass, 6-3, 6-1, at Birmingham in 2015, the year Muguruza eventually reached the final at the All England Lawn Tennis Club.

She had also scored one of the big upsets of the tournament when she surprised the No. 3 seed, Karolina Pliskova, in the second round. Her path to the semifinals after that was not too demanding, including a surprisingly easy win over CoCo Vandeweghe in the quarterfinals, as Vandeweghe played much the way Rybarikova did in the semifinals.

Trailing, 0-5, in the first set, Rybarikova finally won a game and heard a loud cheer from the fans, who evidently felt sympathy for her plight.

She could have built on that, especially after Muguruza overhit a swinging forehand volley on the first point of the next game, then hit a forehand long, giving Rybarikova a brief — very brief — glimmer of hope.

Muguruza won the next four points to close out the set, and she began the second set in much the same fashion, easily winning the first four games, then continuing until the match was hers. She always pushed forward and never allowed the nervous Rybarikova to feel comfortable.

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