WIMBLEDON, England — The end came quickly, in contrast to Venus Williams’ long, historic career.
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 her opponent, the new champion, Garbine Muguruza.
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One moment Saturday it seemed Williams was in control, ahead 5-4 and twice a point away from breaking Muguruza’s serve and winning the first set. The next moment she had lost nine straight games and the match, 7-5, 6-0, and Muguruza playfully was balancing the trophy, the Venus Rosewater plate, 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 woman’s champion in the open era, which began in 1968, and the second-oldest in the 131 years of Wimbledons came to 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 by winning her six previous matches, showed she still belongs among the best.
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