‘Never played better’: Halep leaves beaten Serena ‘like deer in headlights’

Brenda Watkins
July 14, 2019

Serena Williams has now lost in three Grand Slam finals since 2018 after her loss to Simona Halep at Wimbledon on Saturday, and the 23-time major victor may have a plan to solve her finals woes.

Losses to Angelique Kerber in last year's Wimbledon final and then a meltdown in the US Open final against Naomi Osaka, after which she says she went to see a therapist, were painful enough.

Williams will enter the U.S. Open searching for her first Grand Slam victory since the 2017 Australian Open.

Serena Williams could make history at Wimbledon on Saturday with a record-equaling 24 Grand Slam title.

Simona Halep of Romania pose for a photo with her trophy after winning the Ladies' Singles final against Serena Williams of The United States during Day twelve of The Championships - Wimbledon 2019 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 13, 2019 in London, England.

Williams' serve was not dominating the way it often does, and she had 26 unforced errors, which Halep took advantage of nearly every time. The Romanian was the player to beat in the last two weeks at the All England, losing one set in seven encounters and toppling the players like Victoria Azarenka, Cori Gauff and Elina Svitolina to set the title clash against one of the legends of this event and one of the best players ever. The 37-year-old dismantled Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic in the semifinal to set up a final against Romania's Simona Halep.

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Williams still holds the record for most major singles titles in the professional era with 23, one more than Steffi Graf.

Asked what her mother had said to her after the match, she laughed: "She did not say anything because she was crying".

"Today I decided before the match that I'm going to focus on myself and on the final of [a] Grand Slam, not on [Williams]", she added later. If I was No 1 a few months ago doesn't mean that I have to play on Centre Court every time'. Williams had noted earlier that she has not played played her best recently saying, "I don't know if I've had my best serves this tournament".

The comments by King follow a pre-Wimbledon interview in which she discussed Williams' many ventures outside of tennis, including motherhood and her fight for equality.

Then she started working with a renowned sports psychologist who helped her from turning negative in times of adversity on the court. This is not the kind of background din you need when trying to win a Grand Slam. "I'm literally just getting started". You can get intimidated by the moment. Again, I just think Simona just played her heart out. You can get nervous, too nervous. "I just told her that we'll talk later".

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