Published: Sun, July 14, 2019
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

With all eyes on Serena, Halep keeps her composure to win Wimbledon

With all eyes on Serena, Halep keeps her composure to win Wimbledon

Serena Williams remained tantalisingly one short of a record-equalling 24 Grand Slam singles titles as Simona Halep thrashed the off-key American in a one-sided Wimbledon final on Saturday. But we can not ignore the fact that Williams is now 0-3 in Grand Slam finals since she won No. 23, and you have to wonder if there is some mental scar tissue accruing.

The first was to Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon previous year, then to Naomi Osaka at the US Open, and now her loss to Halep.

"When a player plays that wonderful you have to just tip your hat to her".

Even when Williams fired herself up at the start of the second set and began to strike the ball with her customary power, seventh seed Halep refused to take a backward step.

"I like to be defensive, but here you have no chance if you are defensive", said Halep, who also won last year's French Open title. Again, I just think Simona just played her heart out.

But it was Halep who wowed the fans, haring across the turf to whip a superb backhand on her way to a second break which she sealed with a flashing backhand return victor.

She could bump into any number of great champions at the club, or celebrity members such as veteran singer Cliff Richard.

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Now I feel so bad. "Some people were attacked and got injured in a stampede", said the man, who would only give the name Ragnar.

Add in the fact that she had fired down 45 aces and won 83 percent of her service games to reach the final and it seemed as if it was game on for Williams to hoist the Venus Rosewater Dish for an eighth time. She didn't say to win it.

In much-hyped matches over former World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka and teenage prodigy Cori "Coco" Gauff, she handled business quickly and efficiently with solid victories.

The pattern continued in the second set - with Halep's superior speed and waspish groundstrokes allowing her to get Williams's cannonballs back with interest until she had forced the error.

"In everything she does, Serena shines a light on what all of us must fight for in order to achieve equality for all". At times she looked overcome with the pressure and the weight of the record books. Longtime pal Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, and Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, were both seen clapping for her from the Royal Box. I just went for it.

"Today I decided before the match that I'm going to focus on myself and on the final of [a] Grand Slam, not on [Williams]", she added later. "She is very kind and very nice". "I don't know if there's anything I could have done differently".

This made her the first Romanian to win here, although Ilie Nastase got close in 1972 before losing 7-5 in the fifth set to Stan Smith, and she was rewarded with £2.25m in prize money and lifetime membership of the All-England Club.

"I feel like I'm still incredibly competitive or else I wouldn't really be out here, per se", Williams said.

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