By Ros Satar, at Wimbledon

  • Simona Halep [7] def. Serena William [11] 6-2 6-2
  • Becomes the first Romanian player to win at Wimbledon
WIMBLEDON, UK – Simona Halep won her second Slam title, denying seven-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams of reaching ‘24’.

 

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Simona Halep [7] def. Serena William [11] 6-2 6-2

It could not have been a better start from Simona Halep, after her self-proclamations of now loving the grass. Running everything down with her trademark tenacity, she swiftly, if not unbelievably, ran up a 4-0 lead over the seven-time Wimbledon champion, Serena Williams.

Williams jangling nerves were at least partially settled with getting first one game on the board, then the other one, but it was not enough to prevent Halep from wrapping up the first set and giving Williams a mountain to climb to get to ’24’. Previous to this final, everything in the past and most of the present pointed to Williams being the one in control of this final.

 

READ MORE | Tennis | Wimbledon 2019 | By the Numbers – How Halep and Williams match up ahead of the Ladies’ Singles Final

 

But a ‘chill’ Halep took every chance she had in the first set to impose her scrambling, aggressive baseline game, along with steady court coverage to keep her edge.

The second set was certainly a lot more competitive from the off, but a second put-away went long for Williams to give Halep a break. The pained expression on Williams’ face said it all as she came off the worst in rallies, balls were magnetically attracted to the net and nothing seemed to be going right for her in the slightest.

Halep breaking for the second time just put the boot into what eventually turned out to be a very one-sided battle. It seemed apt that Halep would serve out a place into Wimbledon history to love, before sinking to her knees in triumph.

 

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Williams: ‘You have to understand that that was their day today’

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Having now reached three Slam finals since the birth of her daughter, Williams still cannot quite get over the line. Last year she was comprehensively outplayed by Angelique Kerber, and in the US Open even before the chaos that ensued, she was being soundly outplayed by Naomi Osaka.

The same happened today, as she acknowledged in her on-court speech – Halep played out of her mind.

She said, in her post-match press conference: “When someone plays lights out, there’s really not much you can do. You just have to understand that that was their day today. Hopefully they can play like that more often, more consistently. Hopefully I can raise the level of my game sometimes.

“I just was trying different things. Today nothing really helped. But also made way too many errors for a lot of stuff to work.

“I just have to figure out a way to win a final. Maybe it is playing other finals outside of Grand Slams would be really helpful just to kind of get in the groove so by the time I get to a Grand Slam final I’m kind of used to what to do and how to play.”

 

Halep: ‘We don’t even have a grass court in Romania’

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The fact that Halep made the semi-final back in 2014, and was in control until she rolled her ankle, thus sending Eugenie Bouchard to the final (and we all know how THAT turned out), Halep delivered an almost Petra Kvitova-esque result on Saturday.

She said, of her game-plan: “I knew that I have to be aggressive, being 100% for every ball, that I don’t have to let her come back to the match because she’s so powerful and so strong. She knows how to manage every moment. So, I knew that I have to stay there, which I did pretty well today.

“I’m very sure that was the best match of my life. Also, on grass against her is never easy. So, I’m really proud of my game of today and the whole tournament.”

Almost every player will give the same platitude when they win that the title they have just won is the best Slam, but if public adoration was heightened when Halep won Roland Garros last year, what will it be like when she heads home?

“French Open is better known because another two players won it from Romania. It’s clay. We grow up on clay. We are more familiar to Roland Garros.

“But Wimbledon, I think it’s very special for every country. Here the tennis was born, let’s say. It’s all the rules, very prestigious tournament, makes it a little bit different and more special.

“Thinking that is a possibility to win on grass, it was tough to believe because we don’t even have a court, grass court, in Romania. That’s something far. But I knew if we be patient and if we work hard, we get the feeling of the grass court. So, I did this year and I did it pretty well.”

Of course, Wimbledon comes with its perks, Slam winners come in proudly sporting their All England Club iconic purple badges, and Philip Brook has already filled her in on all the perks – come for lunch, dinner, a little tennis if you fancy it…!

“I wanted [to become a member] badly. When I started the tournament, I talked to the people from the locker room that my dream is to become a member here. So today it’s real and I’m really happy.”

The Gentlemen’s Singles final takes place on Sunday at 2pm BST.

 

How to Watch/Follow Wimbledon 2019

TV Across BBC Channels & Red Button
Live Stream BBC Sport

 

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