Serena Williams and Simona Halep set up a very intriguing final at Wimbledon Saturday.
Halep was facing rival Elina Svitolina who had given the Romanian a lot of problems in the past. Svitolina led 4-3 with plenty of chances in past matches to gain more victories over Halep.
Today, both slugged it out early going toe-to-toe for about 20 minutes for the first two games. But Halep came away with both then pulled away from the Ukrainian who was making her debut in a Slam semifinal.
After the 6-1, 6-3 win, Halep moves into her first Wimbledon final, 5th Grand Slam final.
“She didn’t give up a point,” Halep said afterward. “The rallies were very long and very powerful, as well. It was really tough to stay there. But I knew that I was actually prepared against her to fight for every ball. I played many times against her, and I knew that she doesn’t let the rhythm low.
“I had to be there, I had to be strong. Today, I think it was, again, one of the best matches on grass.”
Knowing the world No. 7 Halep was awaiting. Serena continued to sharpen her game against the first-time Slam semifinalist Barbora Strycova. The 33-year-old Czech admitted she tweaked something in her glutes early on, and it showed. Serena ran her ragged and had no trouble in a 6-1, 6-2 thumping.
Serena has won nine from ten against Halep including a win at Wimbledon some years ago. But Halep pushed Serena in defeat at the Australian Open and the as we saw the last two times Serena has made a Slam final, she’s not immune to the upset.
“Now I’m in a different place,” Serena said as she again tries to win her 24th Slam. “Like I just am more calm. Instead of having nothing to lose, I feel like I have things to lose, but I also have nothing to lose. It’s like I’m in the middle.
“I really want to do it. I’m in a different place because I wasn’t really playing a month ago, like, at all. So it’s all kind of coming together. I can’t really put how I’m taking it.”
Halep, who beat Serena at the WTA Finals in 2014, sounds ready for the challenge.
“I played many matches against her, many of them were very close,” said Halep. “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.
“I think it’s a great feeling to face Serena in a Grand Slam final,” she added. “If you are able to win, makes it sweeter. If you lose, then you have to look forward for the next one. I’m in a good position, honestly. I have no pressure on myself, just positive one. I have expectations for myself that I can do a great job on court Saturday.”
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