Williams to meet Halep in Ladies’ final

Serena Williams will meet Romania’s Simona Halep in the Ladies’ Singles final at Wimbledon on Saturday after both completed comprehensive semi-final wins on Thursday afternoon.

Williams, who will be appearing in her 11th All England Club final, was too strong for Czech Barbora Strycova, who she brushed aside 6-1, 6-2.

The American took just 59 minutes to beat Strycova, who herself has had a fantastic Wimbledon, and now is just one step away from her eighth Wimbledon singles title – and a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title.

Williams, who was runner-up to German Angelique Kerber in last year’s final, said of the chance to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record: “I thought about it this morning. I actually didn’t think about it since this morning because 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”

Serena Williams celebrates victory over Barbora Strycova
Serena Williams celebrates victory over Barbora Strycova

Nine-time Wimbledon singles champion Martina Navratilova said on BBC TV: “The crowd didn’t necessarily want Serena to lose. They just wanted to see more of her.

“Strycova wasn’t able to handle the power. How quickly was Serena getting on those balls, though? She did her homework and it paid off. She was firing on all cylinders.”

In the other semi-final, Halep took just 14 minutes more than Williams to secure place in Saturday’s final.

The seventh seed produced a fine display to beat Elina Svitolina 6-1 6-3 in an hour and 13 minutes.

It will be Halep’s fifth grand slam final and comes just over a year after she won her first major title at the fourth attempt at the French Open.

After her win Halep, the first Romanian to reach the Wimbledon final, said of facing Williams: “ I played many matches against her. Many of them were very close. I have learned that I have the chance. Now, if I face her, I will believe that I have my chance to win against her.

“Of course, I respect a lot what she has done and what she’s doing. But now I feel stronger mentally facing her. We will see what is going to happen. It’s just a big challenge for me.”

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