Serena stopped by Halep in
Arthur Kapetanakis | July 13, 2019
In her third major final since returning from maternity leave, Serena Williams was again denied her 24th Grand Slam singles title. On this occasion, against now two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep, it was a case of running into an opponent who played the match of her life.
The Romanian’s 6-2, 6-2 victory pushes Serena’s quest for history on to the US Open, which is now just six weeks away.
Like at the Wimbledon and US Open finals in 2018, Serena never hit top gear—though on all three occasions, and never more so than against Halep, that was largely down to inspired play from across the net.
“She literally played out of her mind,” Williams said in her on-court interview after receiving her runner-up trophy. “Whenever a player plays that amazing, you just kind of have to take your hat off and give them a nod of the head… congratulations, Simona.”ADVERTISEMENT
Halep said she “never” played a better match in her career, and with just three unforced errors across the 56-minute match, that is no exaggeration. She stormed out to a 4-0 lead in the opening set, attacking and defending with equal vigor in what Chris Evert called a “perfect set” in her ESPN commentary.
But despite the 6-2 scoreline and a perfect conversion rate on her two break points, Halep only won six more points than Serena in the set, with the count at 26-20.
Williams came out strong in set two, letting out a roar after winners on each of her first two points of the set. But after the American held serve twice to build an early 2-1 advantage, Halep reeled off the final five games of the match to seal the title.
The 37-year-old had one more fightback in her, as she summoned her first ace of the match and two unreturned serves to turn love-30 into 40-30 while serving at 2-4. But it wasn’t to be, as Halep fought through deuce before cementing a two-break cushion with one of her 13 winners in the match.
Williams was not the only member of Team USA in action at the All England Club on Saturday, as six American juniors also took to the court.
Alexa Noel contested the girls’ singles final, but the No. 10 seed met the same fate as Williams in a 6-4, 6-4 loss to Ukraine’s Daria Snigur, who took out top-seeded American Emma Navarro in the semifinals. In the girls’ doubles competiton, Abigail Forbes and Savannah Broadus booked their place in Sunday’s final with a 6-1, 6-1 win over the French duo of Aubane Droguet and Selena Janicijevic.
In the boys’ doubles semis, the No. 3-seeded duo of Martin Damm (who also reached the singles semifinals) and Toby Alex Kodat fell in three sets, while UCLA’s Govind Nanda advanced to the final alongside Canada’s Liam Draxl.
For more news and full draws, visit the official Wimbledon website.