Simona Halep will face Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final.
Simona Halep will face Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final.

Serena makes history as Court record beckons

Update: Serena Williams is within touching distance of Margaret Court's once unassailable grand slam record after marching imperiously into her 11th Wimbledon final.

The seven-time champion trounced stage-struck Czech Barbora Strycova 6-1 6-2 to reach her 32nd grand slam final.

"It's good, especially after my year," Williams said, referring to chronic knee soreness.

"It definitely feels good to be back in the final.

 

SEE BELOW FOR SIMONA HALEP MATCH REPORT

 

Serena Williams celebrates her win over Barbora Strycova. Picture: Getty Images
Serena Williams celebrates her win over Barbora Strycova. Picture: Getty Images

"I just needed some matches. I know I'm improving and I just needed to feel good and then I can do what I do best which is play tennis.

"I love what I do, I wake up every morning and I get to be fit and play sport and play in front of crowds like here at Wimbledon - not everyone can do that.

"I'm still pretty good at what I do and it's always an amazing experience."

With 23 majors - seven at the Australian Open, seven at Wimbledon, six at the US Open and three at the French - Williams will match Court's record of 24 if she topples Simona Halep in Saturday's final.

"We always have tough matches," Williams said.

"This was a tough match for me and I look forward to it."

Halep swept into her first Wimbledon decider with a 6-1 6-3 victory over Elina Svitolina.

Williams, 37, last won a major at the 2017 Australian Open before giving birth to her daughter.

If she beats Halep, she will become the fourth mother in the post-1968 Open era to win a major.

The others are Court, Evonne Goolagong and Kim Clijsters.

RECORDS BECKON

Since resuming last year, Williams has twice reached finals, only to come up short against Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon and Naomi Osaka at Flushing Meadows.

If Williams succeeds on Saturday, she will complete the longest winning span by a woman in grand slam history.

Her first title came at the 1999 US Open.

Helen Wills Moody spread her major titles over almost 16 years.

Already the oldest grand slam champion in the open era, Williams is now also the oldest woman to make a major final.

Turning 38 in September, Williams is 33 days older than nine-times All England Club champion Martina Navratilova was when the Czech-born American qualified for her 12th decider in 1994.

If Williams snaps her tie with Steffi Graf as the second-most successful female at Wimbledon, she will sit behind only Martina Navratilova (nine).

Williams was never troubled by Strycova, punching holes in the frazzled Czech's defences at will.

The Czech swore loudly after botching a drop shot in the fourth game before Williams ripped a forehand winner to edge ahead.

Despite a brief lapse at 5-1, where she laboured at 15-40, Williams was untouched in a 27-minute first-set romp.

Steadying, Strycova briefly made a contest of the second set until she double-faulted and mangled an ambitious half-volley drop shot to fall deeper into the abyss.

She screeched after butchering a routine forehand volley to trail 2-5, leaving Williams to serve out the match after only 59 minutes.

Wimbledon women's final

Serena Williams (US) v Simona Halep (Rom)

Serena Williams

Age: 37

Ranking: 10

Titles: 72

Grand slam titles: 23

Prizemoney: $128,283,055

Coaches: Richard Williams, Oracene Price, Patrick Mouratoglou.

 

Simona Halep

Age: 27

Ranking: 7

Titles: 18

Grand slam titles: 1

Prizemoney: $43,581,618

Coach: Daniel Dobre

Head to head: Williams leads 9-1. They have played only once on grass, in 2011, with Williams winning in three sets.

 

Halep 'excited and nervous' after reaching first Wimbledon final

Simona Halep is the first Romanian woman to reach a Wimbledon final, capping a roller-coaster tournament for the former world No 1.

Insisting she is a far superior competitor to the player beaten by Eugenie Bouchard in the 2014 semi-finals, Halep gloried in a 6-1 6-3 success over Elina Svitolina.

"It's an amazing feeling. I'm really excited and nervous about this (reaching the final)," the 2018 French Open champion said.

 

Simona Halep celebrates winning a point against Elina Svitolina in their semi-final. Picture: Getty Images
Simona Halep celebrates winning a point against Elina Svitolina in their semi-final. Picture: Getty Images

"It's an amazing feeling. I'm really excited and nervous about this (reaching the final)," the 2018 French Open champion said.

"It's one of the best moments of my life.

"It (the match) was not that easy as the score shows because every game was long and deep.

"She is a tough opponent.

"I was very strong mentally and physically."

Asked how much she had developed over the past five years, she said: "I am not giving up any more. I'm trying to be the best version of myself and I'm trying to win every match I play."

 

Elina Svitolina plays a return against Simona Halep. Picture: Getty Images
Elina Svitolina plays a return against Simona Halep. Picture: Getty Images

 

Halep will play either seven-time champion Serena Williams or unseeded Czech Barbora Strycova in Saturday's final.

In a bizarre start, Halep toiled for 20 minutes and 32 minutes to secure a service break to lead 2-0 - and promptly surrendered it to love with three unforced errors.

But after showing plenty of resistance, Svitolina struggled to cope with Halep's physicality.

The Romanian clinched the set after a dour 43-minute battle.

She then clinically wore down eighth seed Svitolina, landing 26 winners to 10.

Ilie Nastase contested two Wimbledon finals, losing both the 1972 and '76 championship matches.

News Corp Australia


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