Simona Halep wins first Wimbledon title as Romanian crushes Serena Williams in under an hour

13 Jul

Simona Halep produced a sensational display in her first Wimbledon final to blitz to the title and keep Serena Williams waiting again for Grand Slam number 24.

The 27-year-old’s rapid 6-2 6-2 victory makes her the first Romanian to win a singles title at SW19 and added to the French Open crown she claimed last summer.

Halep wasted no time and raced to a straight sets victory
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This is the third time since Williams’ return last spring from the birth of her daughter that she has been one victory away from finally equalling Margaret Court’s all-time record for slam singles titles.

But, as she had against Angelique Kerber here 12 months ago and Naomi Osaka in New York, Williams once again fell short, seemingly unable to put thoughts of history out of her mind.

Williams was horribly out of sorts
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Enormous credit, though, must go to Halep, who showed herself to be not just one of tennis’ great defenders, chasing down everything Williams could throw at her, but also a strong attacking force.

The Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex had front row seats in the Royal Box, the latter desperately hoping to see her close friend Williams have her moment.

But it was Halep’s day, the Romanian needing just 56 minutes to race to victory, dropping to her knees when Williams’ final forehand hit the net.

“I knew that I have to be aggressive, being 100 per cent for every ball, that I don’t have to let her come back to the match because she’s so powerful and so strong,” said the 27-year-old, who won her first slam title at the French Open last summer.

“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.”

Halep celebrates beating Williams at SW19
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Halep, the first Romanian to win a Wimbledon singles title, walked into her post-match press conference with her member’s badge pinned proudly to her top.

“I wanted this badly,” she said. “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 met (chairman) Philip (Brook). He told me, ‘Any time you want, you can come, have dinner, have lunch, playing a little bit of tennis’. I will come for sure.”

By reaching the final, Halep had fulfilled the dream of her mother Tania, who was watching along with other family members from the stands.

“It was my mum’s dream when I was about 10, 12,” said Halep. “She said if I want to do something in tennis I have to play the final of Wimbledon. So the day came.”

Lifting the Venus Rosewater dish was beyond the dream, and something Halep admitted she did not think she would be able to achieve until this year, when she suddenly found her feet on grass.

Philip Brook, Chairman of AELTC presents Halep with a lifelong AELTC membership
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The occasion proved too much for Tania when she was reunited with her daughter afterwards

“She didn’t say anything because she was crying,” said Halep. “I just hugged her and I kissed her. I just told her that we’ll talk later.”
Halep, who also took inspiration from the presence of the Duchess of Cambridge in the Royal Box, had only won one of her previous 10 matches against Williams.
One of the keys, she revealed, was not thinking about the woman across the other side of the net.
“I didn’t think at all against who I play,” she said. “I’ve always been intimidated a little bit when I faced Serena. She’s an inspiration for everyone and the model for everyone.
“Today I decided before the match that I’m going to focus on myself and on the final of a grand slam, not on her. That’s why I was able to play my best, to be relaxed, and to be able to be positive and confident against her.”

The statistics were remarkable. Halep was more dominant on serve than Williams, who is regarded as the best server in the history of women’s tennis, and made only three unforced errors compared to 25 for her opponent.
She led 4-0 after only 11 minutes and, although Williams raised her level, Halep was equal to it, defending superbly but turning defence into attack in devastating fashion.
Williams was full of praise for Halep, saying: “She played out of her mind. It was a little bit ‘deer in the headlights’ for me. Whenever someone plays like that you just have to take your hat off and nod your head.”

Halep was superb but this also was not a good performance from Williams, who had looked to be hitting peak form but could not get her feet moving or find clarity of thought.

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