So we have Simona Halep vs Serena Williams in the women’s singles final. 10th Wimbledon final for Serena and just the first for Halep. Just a quick idea of what we may see on Saturday: Serena has a 9-1 head-to-head against Halep. Will it become 10-1? We will find out! Join us tomorrow for the men’s singles semifinals where Djokovic takes on Bautista Agut and Federer is up against Nadal. An unmissable! But, for now, that’s a wrap from us at Firstpost.
Billie Jean King, like all of us, looking forward to what may be a great final
.@serenawilliams is back! Playing mixed doubles seems to have helped her superb timing and movement. What a beautiful, rhythmic serve! Looking forward to a great final with @Simona_Halep. #Wimbledon
It’s great to be back in the final after the year I’ve had.
I’m definitely a lot better since the start of the year, I just need some matches, I know I’m improving, and I feel good. I can do what I do best, which is play tennis.
I love what I do. I wake up every morning and I get to play in front of crowds like at Wimbledon. Not everyone gets to do that and if you break it down, I have a great job and I love what I do and I think I’m pretty good at what I do. I just enjoy it, it’s a remarkable experience every time.
Simona Halep played unbelievable today. We’ve played on the grass before and had some incredible matches. It was a good match for me today and I look forward to it.
Third grand slam final in 12 months for Serena Williams
Serena: 4 aces, 1 double fault, 88% first serve points won, 80% at the net, 4/5 on break points, 27 winners, 10 unforced errors
Strycova: 1 ace, 1 double faults, 52% first serve points won, 36% at the net, 0/3 on break points, 8 winners, 10 unforced errors
Serena Williams into back-to-back Wimbledon finals
Serena Williams wasting little time and giving little away in a 59 minute demolition of Barbora Strycova. Serena through to the Wimbledon final with a 6-1, 6-2 win. She will take on Simona Halep.
Serena* 6-1, 6-2 Strycova in second set
Serena serving for the match now. Strycova doing everything to prolong this match and is being made to work hard for every point. Was returning deep, finding the angle and showing off incredible defence all to win just one point. And that is followed by a big serve and put away by Serena – easy. Strycova trying to mix things up on the second serve. Return and moved up despite a poor reply and Serena makes a mistake on the backhand. But then comes back with a winner, a simple winner, to make it 30-30. Second serve, no problem. Serena with incredible angle and Strycova tries to lob it back but it goes long. Match point for Serena and that’s all Serena needs. Another big serve and the reply is short and is put away for a comfortable winner.
Serena 6-1, 5-2 *Strycova in second set
Strycova just going for it all now despite that niggle. Goes for a drop shot, again, and again it doesn’t come off. Hasn’t worked at all for her today. Crowd doing their best to egg her on and keep the fight going. Strycova saves one break point with a winner and has another to save. Did everything right with consecutive slices that died down and produced a loopy reply which Strycova, on another day, would put away. Not this day though. She moves up and the volley is sent wide. BREAK!
Serena* 6-1, 4-2 Strycova in second set
Hold to love for Serena and she consolidates the break with utter ease. Strycova stretching her left hamstring in the middle of that game. Seemed to have picked up that in the first game of the match when she stretched for a forehand.
Serena 6-1, 3-2 *Strycova in second set
Serena Williams with a big serve return and opens the court up for the winner. Strycova then serves a double fault with pressure on her serve, Strycova goes for the serve and volley approach and it doesn’t work out once again! Gets down enough to go for the drop shot attempt but execution is missing and the ball dies into the net. BREAK!
Serena* 6-1, 2-2 Strycova in second set
Serena with another comfortable hold. Dropping just one point once again and she keeps the second set level at 2-2.
Men’s doubles: Mahut/Roger-Vasselin into the final
Meanwhile in men’s doubles, Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin are through to their eighth final after beating Ivan Dodig/Filip Polasek 6-2, 7-6, 7-6. To face the winner of Klaasen/Venus and Cabal/Farah.
Serena 6-1, 1-2 *Strycova in second set
Stupendous angles from both players. Serena went for the cross court backhand to try and outfox Strycova but the Czech player is ready for it and does more of the same. Serena stretches but the angle is too much to get the ball back. Strycova holds and yells out “Cmon!” as she takes the seat. Crowd right behind her as well!
Serena* 6-1, 1-1 Strycova in second set
Serena holds in similar fashion – one point dropped in the first game. One game all in the second set with holds for both players after dropping one point.
Serena 6-1, 0-1 *Strycova in second set
Strycova breaks Serena’s streak of five consecutive games to hold her serve at the start of the second game. Drops one point and is on the board early.
First set key stats:
Serena: 3 aces, 1 double fault, 87% first serve points won, 90% at the net, 2/2 on break points, 16 winners, 9 unforced errors
Strycova: 1 ace, 0 double faults, 46% first serve points won, 0% at the net, 0/3 on break points, 3 winners, 5 unforced errors
Serena Williams takes the opening set 6-1
Serena Williams closes out the opening set in 27 minutes with her third ace of the match. Saved three points along the way and it has been all Serena in this semi-final.
Serena* 6-1 Strycova in first set
Serena serving for the set. First winner of the match for Strycova comes on the backhand side as she draws Serena to the net. The Czech Republic players the luck of the net and has three break back points. One saved with a big serve by Serena. Another saved with a thundering forehand winner down the line. Another chance for Strycova here. And it goes to waste as Strycova sends her forehand long. Three break points come and gone in a jiffy. And just like that, Serena with a drop volley to bring up set point. Closed out with an ace!
Serena 5-1 *Strycova in first set
Strycova had employed the sliced backhand and forehand shot to great effect against Konta in the quarters. But Serena giving little away. Moving into the shot and picking up the low ball. Follows it up with a impeccable backhand winner which clips the line. Two break point chances and just need the one for the second break of serve.
Serena* 4-1 Strycova in first set
Second ace of the match for Serena and she goes 9/9 on first serve points won to hold to love thus consolidating the break. Out of absolutely nowhere, Serena has opened things up quickly.
Serena 3-1 *Strycova in first set
Serena had the look in to possibly bring up the break point but she sends her backhand on the second serve long. Yells out loud in frustration. Incredible fetching from Strycova to try and stop the power of Serena and then the angles. But in the end it is far too much. Deuce. Went far too early into the point for a drop shot and doesn’t cut it nicely. Break point for Williams. Strycova goes for the serve and volley approach, decent serve, cautious volley back but Serena gets the BREAK with a forehand cross court winner!
Serena* 2-1 Strycova in first set
Serena with the hold after dropping two points once again. Strycova got to 30-30 before an attempted drop shot doesn’t work out and then Serena puts things away with a winner into the corner.
Serena 1-1 *Strycova in first set
Comfortable hold for Strycova as well. Serena going for a touch too much twice in that return game and sending the ball wide/long. One game all.
Ready, play! Serena to serve
Double fault and error on the forehand by Serena to make it 30-30. Bit of a chance early on for Strycova. But doesn’t make the return on the second serve. Serena holds eventually with a dominant point.
Quick intro for both players: Barbora Strycova
WTA ranking: 54 (Highest ranking: 16)
Grand Slam titles: 0
2018 Wimbledon performance: Third round
Best Wimbledon performance: Semi-finals (2019)
Quick intro for both players: Serena Williams
WTA Ranking: 10 (Highest ranking: 1)
Grand Slam titles: 23 (Australian Open 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2017; French Open 2002, 2013, 2015; Wimbledon 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016; U.S. Open 1999, 2002, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014)
Next semifinal: Serena Williams vs Barbora Strycova
The second semifinal features two players who, historically, display a massive mismatch. Serena has 23 grand slam titles while Strycova is into the semifinals of singles for the first time. She is the oldest women’s singles player to reach the semis for the first time. She is more of a doubles proponent and is alive in the women’s doubles draw as well. There she partners Hsieh and plays top-seeds Mladenovic and Babos in the semis.
The telling stats that tell the story
Halep and Svitolina played 32 rallies that lasted 9+ shots.
Halep won 25 of them.
Svitolina won 7 of them.
Halep: 1 ace, 3 DFs, 70% 1st serves in, 74% 1st serves won, 87% returns in play, 7 of 8 service games won, 5 of 8 break points won, 4 of 5 break points saved, 26 winners, 16 unforced errors.
Svitolina: 1 ace, 0 DFs, 67% 1st serves in, 47% 1st serves won, 91% returns in play, 3 of 8 service games won, 1 of 5 break points won, 3 of 8 break points won, 10 winners, and 16 unforced errors.
Simona Halep speaks after the win:
It’s an amazing feeling and I’m really excited because it’s one of the best moments of my life. I’m trying to enjoy as much as possible in the tournament.
It was not as easy as the scoreboard shows. Every game was very long and very deep. I fought really hard to win this match, because she’s an amazing player and it’s always really hard to play against her. I think I played the right tactics, and I was strong mentally and physically.
I have more experience now than I did when I reached the semi-final, I’m positive on court and I’m not giving up anymore. I’ve learnt a lot over the last five years, I’m trying to be the best version of myself every time I step on court.
It doesn’t matter who is on the other side of the net because it’s a final at Wimbledon, and I cannot ask for more than that can I?
Simona Halep into the Wimbledon final
Simona Halep beats Elina Svitolina 6-1, 6-3 in an hour and 13 minutes to progress to her first-ever Wimbledon final. She will take on the winner of Serena Williams and Barbora Strycova.
Svitolina* 1-6, 3-6 Halep in second set
A poor, poor drive volley on the forehand from Svitolina gives Halep the first match point. It is saved despite Halep hitting the let chord twice. Halep sending the lower retrieve into the net. A deep forehand return on the serve is netted by Svitolina and Halep gets the job done in two sets!
Svitolina 1-6, 5-3 *Halep in second set
Simona Halep consolidates the break with another comfortable hold. First point she’s lost on her serve this set but follows it up with confident serves including an ace to hold.
Stats tell the story between the two players:
Halep: 24 winners, 16 unforced errors
Svitolina: 10 winners, 15 unforced errors
Courtesy WTA: Halep has gone cross-court 45% of the time today and 55% down the line. That’s a definite tactical change.
Svitolina* 1-6, 3-4 Halep in second set
Just as we say that, Halep has upped the intensity and pressure on Svitolina’s serve. She forces Svitolina into two errors and there is that opening she wanted. And it widens even further to bring up two break point opportunities. Angled serve out wide on Halep’s forehand, Svitolina goes for the cross court behind Simona but puts too much on it. BREAK!
Svitolina 1-6, 3-3 *Halep in second set
Third straight hold to love for Halep. She is looking far more convincing in this set. Svitolina has to make things difficult for her, change things around if she has to force a third. Not to forget, she has to serve better.
Svitolina* 1-6, 3-2 Halep in second set
Having held her own to love once again, Halep is now putting pressure on Svitolina’s serve. From 30-0 up, Svitolina is under pressure on serve again. Halep draws things level at deuce. Svitolina can thank her luck for the first time today as her smash hits the top of the net and slows down giving no chance to Halep to get it back. The Ukranian then holds after an error by Halep.
Celebrity attendees at Wimbledon
Besides Virgil Van Dijk, there is former England football player David Beckham, former tennis players Jim Courier, Daniela Hantuchova, Ai Sugiyama also watching proceedings on Centre Court.
Svitolina* 1-6, 2-1 Halep in second set
Another comfortable hold, another hold to love and this time it is for Elina Svitolina. She walks to the chair a more confident player all of a sudden. But she needs to do better on the return.
Svitolina 1-6, 1-1 *Halep in second set
Quick holds from both players early in the second set – quite unlike the first. Svitolina conceding one point before Halep held her serve to love.
Order of play for 12 July
Meanwhile the order of play for the men’s singles is out:
Novak Djokovic vs Roberto Bautista Agut at 1 PM local (5.30 PM IST)
Followed by, Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal
Simona Halep wins the first set 6-1 in 43 minutes
Simona Halep wins the opening set 6-1 on the sixth set point opportunity. Elina Svitolina looking patchy on her serve and not going after her shots with Romanian making the most of it.
Svitolina 1-6 *Halep in first set
Svitlolina finally breaking out of shackles and producing lovely angles on the forehand. But Halep roars back with a winner down the line of her own to bring the serve at 30-30. Halep with a backhand winner from out of absolute nowhere and it brings up set point. Halep looks to move into the forehand and find the angle for the cross court winner but adds too much on it. Deuce. Another set point opportunity for Halep with Svitolina unable to get her backhand back. Incredible depth on Svitolina’s forehand coupled with venom and Halep is unable to control her backhand back. Deuce once again. Even the luck going Halep’s way. She tries to go for a drop shot, Svitolina is moving forehand but the ball trickles over with the brush of the net. Third set point chance and it goes to waste with a double fault. It is followed by a big first serve and a booming forehand to force an error. Fourth set point comes and goes. Svitolina with a winner on serve return and back to deuce. Svitolina brings up a break point now with Halep erring on her forehand. Romanian looks at her box and frustratingly yells. Svitolina doesn’t make the most of the chances and a backhand later Halep has a fifth set point. And it is saved as well! Clean winner on the forehand and this is going the distance – again. Halep brings up a sixth set point with a sublime forehand winner on the run. No chance for Svitolina there and on set point. A confident one-two and Halep wins the first set 6-1 in 43 minutes. It took six set points!
Svitolina* 1-5 Halep in first set
This is proving to be one way traffic now. Svitolina unable to control her errors and Halep doing well to mix things up as well. Svitolina has Halep on the run at 0-40, goes for the drop thereafter but Simona is on the move already and a running forehand cross court winner hands her another BREAK.
Svitolina 1-4 *Halep in first set
No trouble for Halep in holding this time. She raced away to 30-0 before a bizarre forehand error gave Svitolina a bit of a hope to take this deep. But Halep more comfortable after that to hold her serve.
Svitolina* 1-3 Halep in first set
Fourth game of the match, fourth game with break point opportunities and third break of the set. Svitolina tries to be aggressive in her approach this time including moving up to the net but shanks her forehand to hand Halep the BREAK back,
Look who’s at Wimbledon!
Liverpool football club’s defender Virgil Van Dijk is in attendance today at the All England Club.
After two ten minute games, stretching both players, the third is done in a minute or so. And it is BREAK RIGHT BACK for Svitolina, to love, and we’re at even footing now. That was a poor service game from Halep and Svitolina is rightly charged up. We’re back on serve then.
Preview: Serena Williams will take on Barbora Strycova for a shot at her eleventh Wimbledon final, while Simona Halep faces a tough test against Elina Svitolina.
If experience and accomplishments count for anything, Williams has the clear advantage.
“I definitely feel a lot more pressure as I got older,” Williams said after beating Alison Riske in three sets in the quarter-finals, then clarifying just how much experience she actually has. “Now that I am past older, I feel a little bit less pressure.”
The 37-year-old Williams, a seven-time Wimbledon champion, will be playing in the semi-finals at the All England Club for the 12th time. Overall, she has reached the last four at 37 major tournaments, putting her in a tie with Steffi Graf for third most in the professional era.
Contrast that with her three remaining rivals. Barbora Strycova, Williams’ opponent on Thursday, will be playing in first major semi-final in her 53rd Grand Slam tournament, while Elina Svitolina will also be making her debut at this stage. Only former No. 1 Simona Halep has been a Grand Slam champion, winning last year’s French Open, and will be playing in her seventh major semi-final.
“It was always my dream. Always, to play good at this tournament was my dream,” said the 33-year-old Strycova, a Czech player who has been talking about retiring this year. “It’s happening at this age right now. It’s incredible.”
Despite her less-illustrious list of achievements, Strycova is ready for the challenge of playing one of the greatest tennis players in history.
Halep, a former No. 1 who won the 2018 French Open, followed up her elimination of 15-year-old sensation Coco Gauff by defeating Zhang Shuai of China 7-6 (4), 6-1 to get to her second semi-final at Wimbledon. Svitolina will make her debut in that round at any major tournament thanks to beating Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic 7-5, 6-4.