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Wimbledon: Halep races past Serena to win second Grand Slam title - 'It was the greatest match of my life'

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 14 Jul 2019
  • Halep beat Serena in straight sets to win her second major title
  • The Romanian committed just three unforced errors in the masterful display
  • Halep said it was the greatest performance of her career
Simona Halep (PA Images)

Simona Halep played the greatest match of her career to stun Serena Williams in less than an hour to secure her second Grand Slam title and first Wimbledon crown on Saturday.

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Halep had lost nine of her 10 previous meetings against Serena heading into the final, but the Romanian was simply unstoppable in a blistering performance, conquering the 23-time major champion 6-2 6-2 in just 56 minutes.

Halep struck just three unforced errors and fired 13 winners in a match she declared was the best of her life.

"It feels good. I wanted this badly,” Halep said in her post-match press conference. “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.
"I'm very sure that was the best match of my life, and also on grass against her is never easy. So I'm really proud of my game of today and the whole tournament."

The moment Simona Halep won the Wimbledon title (PA Images)
Halep wasn’t talked about as one of the leading Wimbledon contenders coming into the tournament. She’d never been a formidable force on grass and wasn’t having an overly spectacular season after her career-best 2018 came to an end abruptly with a back injury, while she also split with long-time master coach Darren Cahill.

However, after linking back up with former mentor Daniel Dobre, Halep learned to love grass, and following some great wins over the last fortnight, including taking out former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, teenage sensation Cori Gauff, nemesis Zhang Shuai and No. 8 seed Elina Svitolina, the Romanian saved her best tennis for last as she dismantled Serena with some sparkling tennis in Saturday’s final showdown.

Halep exploded out of the blocks and raced to a 4-0 lead in under 15 minutes, and while it appeared Serena was starting to find her range towards the end of the first set and start of the second, Halep never wavered, utilising her excellent retrieving abilities to frustrate the American into error, while she served brilliantly and was aggressive when the right ball presented itself.

Simona Halep and Serena Williams (PA Images)
It was truly the perfect match from Halep on the biggest stage there is.

"The finals I lost in the past helped me for sure to be different when I face this moment. It's never easy to face a Grand Slam final. You can get intimidated by the moment. You can get nervous, too nervous,” Halep said.
"I have learned that it's a normal match, not thinking that much about the trophy, just going there and try to be the best as you can. So I did that. I said that every time I would play a final of Grand Slam, I will do exactly the same thing. So today I did it."

Meanwhile, Serena was left to rue 26 unforced errors as she lost her third straight Grand Slam final and once again fell just short of capturing a 24th major title.

It was a tremendous effort from the 37-year-old to even reach the Wimbledon final considering she had retired or withdrawn from half of the six tournaments she’s played in 2019, but there was nothing Serena could do to disrupt Halep’s rhythm in the final.

“She [Halep] just played great, which isn’t a surprise for anyone against me,” said Williams. “I was trying different things but nothing really helped. I was over-hitting it, going for too much. I also made way too many errors for a lot of stuff to work.”

Halep will return to World No. 4 when the new WTA rankings are released on Monday after dropping to No. 8 after the French Open, while Serena moves up one spot to No. 9.


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Wimbledon: Halep races past Serena to win second Grand Slam title - "It was the greatest match of my life"

Simona Halep played the greatest match of her career to stun Serena Williams in less than an hour to secure her second Grand Slam title and first Wimbledon crown on Saturday.

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