Monday, 19 August, 2019

Wimbledon: Simona Halep makes maiden final, Serena Williams fighting to join her

Simona Halep dispatches Elina Svitolina to reach first Wimbledon final Serena, Halep roll, advance to Wimbledon final
Sidney Guerrero | 12 July, 2019, 19:58

There are, of course, many reasons why Serena Williams has been as successful as she's been, for as long as she's been. The concern was whether she could be her usual brilliant self when put under pressure.

But she has shown already she can deal with a partisan crowd having beaten 15-year-old Coco Gauff on Monday.

Victory for Williams sets up a shot at a record-tying 24th Grand Slam title, with Romanian Simona Halep the player standing in her way of matching Australian Margaret Court's all-time tally in Saturday's final.

With a first Grand Slam final beckoning in the French Open semi-finals last month, Konta lost 7-5 7-6 to teenager Marketa Vondrousova, blowing 5-3 leads in both sets. Halep won the French Open a year ago and is trying to reach her fifth major final.

This will be her third Grand Slam final appearance since she returned to courts from giving birth.

"I am 33 and I try to enjoy every moment", she told reporters.

In the defeat by Angelique Kerber here 12 months ago, her lack of mobility around the court was exploited, while against Naomi Osaka in NY the American lost her cool in dramatic scenes. "Her daugher is here and she is pain free now for three weeks so she feels so much lighter". "I look forward to it".

However, Williams has been beset with health issues, including a nagging knee injury that has haunted her this season. She was at her usual court-covering best, which helped limit Strycova to 10 winners.

The semifinal's turning point came quickly.

Williams, 37, made the comments following her semifinal victory against Barbora Strycova Thursday at the All-England Club.

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Maybe that got her going, because she simply took over. Having offered up a break point, Strycova crouched at the baseline and rested her racket on her head.

What are the keys to the match for Williams?

The runaway was on: Williams seized seven points in a row and 16 of 20 to close out that set.

She took just 59 minutes to win and continue her bid for an eighth title.

Elina Svitolina is dejected after losing a point to Simona Halep.

Svitolina, seeded No. 8, had never been to the final four at any Slam, either.

Williams has served 45 aces on her way to the final and won three quarters of points on her first serve. Serena has gotten her elite serve back and has now cleaned up the silly mistakes, meaning she's playing about as well as she has since the return from her pregnancy. She said in a first-person essay she wrote for Harper's Bazaar that she met with a therapist and wrote to Osaka to apologize for the whole episode. Good manners prevent her from saying so in public - and that brings its own baggage. But the 23-time Grand Slam champion has lost four of her last six major finals, including the last two.

Since coming back from maternity leave in March 2018, she reached the Wimbledon and US Open finals a year ago. The younger American, who prefers grass, brought her A-game against the veteran to force a tight and tense three-setter.

Asked during a Wimbledon press conference about her reasons for following Selby, Halep conceded that she was not a snooker fan but she does have some rather exclusive merchandise.

By then, she was in control. Or that Williams soundly beat Halep later at that same tournament. I feel like she's back. "That's what we're going to do".

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