Serena Williams battles burden of expectation before Simona Halep final

Tanya Simon
July 13, 2019

While her comeback journey seemed to dominate the narrative surrounding her in 2018 as she made two Grand Slam finals, it feels like we're back to taking for granted that she'll have deep runs in major tournaments - even though we're still waiting for her next victory.

While Williams has 10 Wimbledon finals under her belt, Saturday will mark the first time Halep features in the showpiece match of the grass-court season.

It was a far cry from the stuttering performance Williams showed in her three-set quarter-final against compatriot Alison Riske on Tuesday, who was able to drag Serena into the type of dogfight Strycova - Johanna Konta's conqueror in the quarters - was unable to muster.

Serena Williams cruised her way to the Wimbledon finals in a semifinal match that lasted just under an hour.

Chasing a second major after finally breaking through at last year's French Open, Halep will play seven-times champion Serena Williams in Saturday's championship decider.

It may appear like Serena Williams is the imperious best on the female side as she makes yet another Wimbledon final, hoping to add to her 23 grand slam championships and equal Margaret Court's all-time record in the process. Within 41 days Bartoli had retired, at only 28, after losing to Simona Halep in Cincinnati, unable to stand the aggregated pain of a long career, becoming the first Wimbledon champion not to defend her title since the 1969 victor, Ann Jones. As it is, the 33-year-old Strycova was the oldest first-time Grand Slam semifinalist in the professional era. Serena got 61 percent of hr first serves in play, saved all three of her break points and hit 28 winners to 10 unforced errors. Of course, I respect what she has done and what she's doing. "I think I played the right tactics - I was very strong mentally and physically". Since her win over Hercog, the WTA and her management company Team8 (co-founded by Roger Federer) have been contacted over 300 times to ask about Gauff's availability for interviews. "I never forgot it", said the 11th seed, who is also bidding to become the first mother to triumph at Wimbledon since Australian Evonne Goolagong beat American Chris Evert in 1980.

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But inside, she says, Williams isnt feeling the same pressures as she did before losing last year's Wimbledon and US Open finals to Angelique Kerber and Naomi Osaka respectively with Court's record also within touching distance. Williams tweeted in April that she was "in tears" while watching Woods win the Masters. Like I just am more calm. Up until this year, the Romanian's best result in south west London came in 2014 when she reached the semifinals.

"It's an fantastic feeling and I'm really excited - and also nervous because of this". It is her third Wimbledon singles title and 11th Grand Slam singles trophy overall. Her return to form in the semi-finals against Strycova was astonishing. It's really just about going out there and giving my best effort, no matter what. I feel like she's back.

Worse was to come for Svitolina on her next service game wheh Halep produced a stunning shot to go 5-1.

Halep has lost nine of her ten encounters with Williams and three out of her previous four grand slam finals.

The latter descended into chaos after Williams was penalized a game for a heated argument with the chair umpire.

"I fought feally hard to win the match".

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