Serena Williams to face Simona Halep in Wimbledon final

Tanya Simon
July 12, 2019

Serena Williams's place among the legends of tennis is assured but her mission will not be accomplished unless she at least equals Margaret Court's record haul of 24 Grand Slam singles titles.

After all that, it will be a surprise - not on the scale of her defeat by Vinci in NY - if Williams does not stand in the middle of Centre Court as the freshly crowned queen of Wimbledon, and the game itself.

But Williams, who will become the oldest woman in the professional era to contest a Grand Slam final on Saturday, is taking it all in her stride.

The American, at the age of 37, handed a thumping 6-1, 6-2 lesson to Strycova, whose first singles semifinal at a Grand Slam proved distinctly one-sided. After Williams won the fourth game of the set, Strycova was in position to take the fifth game, before a double fault at 30-30 and an easy unforced error at the net for game point gave Serena the lead.

Simona Halep's overall record in finals is 18-17, though she has lost her last three - Cincinnati 2018 to Kiki Bertens, Doha 2019 to Elise Mertens and Madrid 2019 to Bertens again.

"I think it's a great feeling to face Serena in a Grand Slam final". It's really just about going out there and giving my best effort, no matter what.

Set 2 was more of the same as Strycova was visibly in pain and even let a pair of screams out on Centre Court.

"I definitely feel a lot more pressure as I got older", Williams said after beating Alison Riske in three sets in the quarterfinals, then clarifying just how much experience she actually has. "It is exciting and I am looking forward to it already".

"In the last match you could see that she has been able to raise her level when it was necessary, which is one of her trademarks and this is back so everything is positive". "But now I feel stronger, mentally, facing her".

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"I wouldn't have won that match a couple of weeks ago". Having offered up a break point, Strycova crouched at the baseline and rested her racket on her head.

"Now (Barb0ra) is at the top of her game", Strycova's coach Lukas Dlouhy said. "That's what we're going to do".

Williams played cleanly, accumulating almost twice as many winners as unforced errors, 28-10.

"I thought about it this morning", she said.

She is 15th on the tournament leaderboard for getting her return back, with 83%, and that is healthy.

"We all know that".

A cross-court forehand passing shot delivered the break for Williams, and Strycova bent over again, one of the initial signs that she was dealing with something physical.

Simona Halep has admitted she does not understand snooker despite Mark Selby accounting for 50 per cent of the people she follows on Twitter.

Halep, who had not faced a seeded player until Svitolina, faced some resistance as she served for the set eventually taking it on her sixth set point. Or that Williams soundly beat Halep later at that same tournament.

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