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Home » Wait goes on for Williams, inspired Halep wins maiden Wimbledon title
Arab Times

Wait goes on for Williams, inspired Halep wins maiden Wimbledon title

Romania’s Simona Halep holds the trophy after defeating United States’ Serena Williams during the women’s singles final match on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019. (AP)

Remarkable display of defence mixed with clinical counter-punching

LONDON, July 13, (RTRS):
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.

Halep began the week halting American 15-year-old Coco
Gauff’s dream run and will end it at the Champions Ball after dismantling
seven-times winner Williams 6-2, 6-2 with an inspired display on Centre Court.

She is Romania’s first Wimbledon
singles champion.

The 27-year-old set the tone by
breaking the Williams serve in the opening game and raced into a 4-0 lead in
front of 15,000 incredulous fans.

She remained rock solid
throughout, making only three unforced errors in a remarkable display of
defence mixed with clinical counter-punching. Williams simply could not
respond.

Even
when Williams fired herself up at the start of the second set and began
thumping the ball with her customary power, seventh seed Halep refused to back
off. Halep weathered the squall, then reeled off the last five games of what
she described as the match of her life.

Williams has now lost three Grand
Slam finals without winning a set since returning to action last March,
following the birth of daughter Olympia in September 2017.

But this was the most chastening
as she lasted only 56 minutes before biffing a forehand into the net – her 26th
unforced error – to end the contest.

It was the second shortest
Wimbledon final since Martina Navratilova thrashed Andrea Jaeger in 1983, one
minute longer than Petra Kvitova’s trouncing of Eugenie Bouchard five years
ago.

“She played out of her mind,”
Williams, who had won nine of her previous 10 matches against Halep, said on
court after picking up the runners-up salver for the second straight year,
having ran into a similarly inspired Angelique Kerber last year.

“It was a little bit a deer in
headlights for me. Whenever a player plays like that you just have to take your
hat off.” Until Saturday the only other Romanian to reach a Wimbledon final was
Ilie Nastase who finished runner-up in 1972 and 1976. Halep went one better as
she added the Wimbledon crown to the French Open she won in 2018.

Halep said it had been her
“mother’s dream” for her to hold aloft the Venus Rosewater Dish.

Victory means she becomes a
lifetime Wimbledon member.

“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.

“I’m very sure that was the best
match of my life.” After losing to Kerber a year ago, then to Naomi Osaka in a
stormy US Open final, Williams, 37, hoped it would be third time lucky to
finally move level with Australian Margaret Court on the all-time list of Grand
Slam title collectors.

Despite having only five
tournaments under her belt this year, Williams, who won her first Wimbledon
title in 2002, had looked calm and composed en route to her 11th Wimbledon
final. If she thought she could put down an early marker she was mistaken as
three unforced errors in the opening game handed Halep an unexpected gift of an
early break.

Halep grew in stature and could
not miss. Williams, on the other hand, looked tight and lacked feel. There was
strong support for Williams, including of the royal variety with friend Meghan
Markle joining the Duchess of Cambridge in a crammed Royal Box.

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