By Ros Satar, at Wimbledon

  • Serena Williams [11] def. Barbora Strycova 6-1 6-2
  • Will face Simona Halep for the title
WIMBLEDON, UK – Serena Williams is one win away from finally equalling Margaret Court’s all-time record after reaching the final with a straight sets win over Barbora Strycova.

 

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Serena Williams [11] def. Barbora Strycova 6-1 6-2

Serena Williams reached the final at SW19 once more with a comprehensive victory over Barbora Strycova with the elusive ‘24’ coming into view once more.

Williams has looked stronger with each round she has played, including the drama of dropping the first set to Kaja Juvan in the second round, which boded badly for the quarter-of-doom.

Williams was the first to strike after the match started competitively. Strycova played solidly but could not make a dent in the Williams service games, but on the two break point chances that presented themselves to Williams, she took full advantage to break twice on the spin. Strycova was not without her chances, with three chances to get one of the breaks back, before Williams converted on her first set point.

Again, Strycova played solidly at the start of the second set, but once more it was the double-break in succession which propelled Williams into an 11th Wimbledon final, and she is targeting an eighth title here, not to mention ‘24’.

What Strycova did so well to Johanna Konta was to mix up her play and kept the British No. 1 on the back-foot, once she started to get into the match. This time she had no chance to act as a disruptor, as Williams kept pace and stepped up a gear in each set.

 

‘Last year, physically I just wasn’t there’

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Of course last year, she all but sailed through the draw on a seeding adjustment and her special ranking, but met an inspired Angelique Kerber, who she had beaten for her 22nd Slam title. This time, Kerber was prepared, and Williams was found wanting.

She said: “I just remember [in last year’s final] I was tired and Angie played unbelievable. I actually was sad but I was also proud of myself. There was nothing I could do in that match. I did everything I could. Physically I just wasn’t there.

“I remember after that I just trained and I trained and I trained to get physically more fit. So I’m definitely at a different place. Yeah, I didn’t have the preparation coming into Wimbledon of training for two weeks even. So that would have been nice.

“But now I have to look at it in a different place. I have been, just this whole year, trying to stay fit so I can be able to play in Grand Slams.”

She continued: “It’s really not about 24 or 23 or 25. It’s really just about going out there and giving my best effort no matter what. No matter what I do, I will always have a great career. I don’t know. Like, I just kind of let it go this morning. Yeah, I feel really calm about it.”

She will face Simona Halep in the final, and still has vivid memories of being beaten her just the once, at the WTA Finals in 2014.

“I think the biggest key with our matches is the loss that I had. I never forgot it. She played unbelievable. That makes me know that level she played at, she can get there again. So I have to be better than that.”

The Ladies’ final will be played on Saturday at 2pm BST.

 

How to Watch/Follow Wimbledon 2019

TV Across BBC Channels & Red Button
Live Stream BBC Sport

 

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