By Ros Satar, at Wimbledon
- Simona Halep  def. Elina Svitolina  6-1 6-3
- Faces Serena Williams on Saturday as she bids for a first Wimbledon title
WIMBLEDON, UK – Simona Halep cruised past Elina Svitolina as her new-found love for the grass takes her to a first Wimbledon final
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Simona Halep  def. Elina Svitolina  6-1 6-3
This had all the hallmarks of potentially being an epic, especially given some of their past matches. With lung-busting rallies in the first couple of games, that lasted over 20 minutes, it looked as though it would end up as a war of attrition, as Simona Halep broke for a 2-0 lead, coming out on top of a trade of breaks for 3-1.
From there though, it turned into one-way traffic, as Halep broke Elina Svitolina twice, although the Ukrainian’s fighting spirit was evident as she saved five match points and even earned a break point of her own, before losing the first set.
The second set felt like a far more settled affair for the pair of them but on the first sniff of a break, it was Halep that took the lead, breaking once more for a spot in the final.
“After the first game, I was a little bit tired. Then the second game came same. The third game I couldn’t play anymore and I lost it fast. But she was really strong. She didn’t give up a point. The rallies were very long and very powerful, as well. It was really tough to stay there.
“But I knew that I was actually prepared against her to fight for every ball. I played many times against her, and I knew that she doesn’t let the rhythm low. I had to be there, I had to be strong. Today I think it was, again, one of the best matches on grass.”
Svitolina: Lots of positives to take
For years now, Svitolina comes in for a fair bit of criticism for never having made it to the latest stages of the Slams, and under the radar, she came out to reach the semi-finals on the grass – on top of having had to manage a knee injury during this year.
She said: “I didn’t take my chances. That’s I think was disappointing. In the beginning, you want to play well, you want to make a statement that you are there for the fight. I think I wouldn’t say it was the key for the match, but I think I just missed theopportunities to get the chances in the match from those two games, I would say, three games.
“It’s lots of positives to take. If someone would tell me I would play semi-finals in Wimbledon, I’m not sure I would really believe this. So, yeah, for sure I’m disappointed, but lots of things to take, lots of memories.”
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‘I will believe that I have my chance to win against [Serena]’
Halep got her most significant win over Serena Williams in the 2014 WTA Finals, but would meet Williams again in the final, where revenge was well and truly dished out. Ironically, she faced Williams for the first time at Wimbledon in 2011 where she lost to her in the second round, but not before taking a set off her.
She will be looking to spoil the ’24’ party, as she bids for a first Wimbledon title and a second Slam.
Halep continued: “I played many matches against her. Many of them were very close. I have learned that I have the chance. Now, if I face her, I will believe that I have my chance to win against her. Of course, I respect a lot what she has done and what she’s doing. But now I feel stronger mentally facing her. We will see what is going to happen. It’s just a big challenge for me.
“I’m desperate to win Wimbledon more than to stop her. I will focus on myself. I’m not thinking about her record. Of course, is huge. Her records are huge already. It’s just a tennis match, big challenge, a great match. So, I will try just to give my best.”
“I think it’s a great feeling to face Serena in a Grand Slam final. If you are able to win, makes it sweeter. If you lose, then you have to look forward for the next one. I’m in a good position, honestly. I have no pressure on myself, just positive one. I have expectations for myself that I can do a great job on court Saturday. Still I’m chill, so…”
The Ladies’ final will be played on Saturday at 2pm BST.
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