Serena Williams reaches 11th Wimbledon final

Ross Houston
July 12, 2019

Halep excels at this type of play, more frequently seen on clay courts than grass, and soon enough was on her way to her fifth Grand Slam final.

Seven-time champion Williams made short work of plucky unseeded Czech Barbora Strycova, whose experience of her first ever Grand Slams singles semi-final in her 53rd campaign lasted just under an hour as she lost 6-1, 6-2.

Strycova is, though, the overwhelming underdog against Williams, who is chasing a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title and her first as a mother.

Romania's former world No.1 passed her first major test of the tournament with a steely 6-1 6-3 semi-final victory over eighth-seeded Svitolina on Thursday.

Now, she said, "I can do what I do best".

"It's an incredible feeling and I'm really excited - and also nervous because of this, " Halep said.

Williams took the next point with a swinging forehand volley victor on the 16th stroke, then one after that when Strycova's mediocre drop shot landed in the net. Five of the first 11 points lasted at least 10 strokes; two went 23.

"I love what I do, I'm still pretty good at what I do and it's always an awesome experience".

"I just remember, like, how it's so, so different when you're younger as opposed to now". Ahead 2-1 in the first set while Strycova served at 30-all, Williams sailed a backhand return way long and let out a cry of "Aaah!" Having offered up a break point, Strycova crouched at the baseline and rested her racket on her head.

A cross-court forehand passing shot delivered the break for Williams, and Strycova bent over again, one of the initial signs that she was dealing with something physical.

Svitolina had never before been to the final four at a major tournament.

Williams, whose two sets win took her to 200 career sets won at Wimbledon joint second with Chris Evert in the all-time women's list behind Martina Navratilova (249), says that she is in a better frame of mind than she was when she ended up losing in both the Wimbledon and US Open finals past year.

Halep, who had not faced a seeded player until Svitolina, faced some resistance as she served for the set eventually taking it on her sixth set point. "But now I feel stronger, mentally, facing her". But once Halep established her dominance by breaking Svitolina's serve in each and every one of the Ukrainian's service games, the former world number one took over.

"You can try and overpower her which is most likely what will happen, but it's not going to be one-way traffic".

But first Williams must overcome the Czech Republic's Barbora Strycova to set up a showdown with Halep in Saturday's final. Now comes a tougher task: beating Williams.

"I think it's a big challenge for me, the next match".

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