Wimbledon: Simona Halep makes maiden final

London: Simona Halep has booked her place in her first Wimbledon final with a comfortable straight-sets win over Elina Svitolina. Halep, whose best previous performance here was reaching the last four in 2014, proved too strong for Svitolina, who was contesting her first grand slam semi-final, with the Romanian coming through 6-1, 6-3. Halep’s return of serve has stood out as she has progressed through the rounds this year and so it proved again against Svitolina, the first Ukrainian to contest a women’s grand slam semi-final. No doubt some early nerves contributed but Svitolina was unable to hold serve in an opening set in which Halep seized the initiative after a cagey start. Indeed, the first two games of set took all of 20 minutes – Halep eventually breaking in the first of them and then holding in the second. Svitolina broke back to love but could not back it up by holding with Halep taking command with a 4-1 lead.

By this stage, Halep was in her groove and the longer the rallies went on, and there were plenty that did so for a while, she was in the ascendancy. She wasted five set points at 5-1 but took the 2018 French Open champion and former world No 1 took the sixth with a forehand winner. Svitolina’s serve was much improved in the second set, but so too was Halep’s – the Ukranian managing just one point on her opponent’s serve. Halep secured the crucial break at 3-3, going on to hold for 5-3 and while Svitolina saved the first match point, a backhand into the net on the second-handed Halep the match. She will now face the winner of the second semi-final between Serena Williams and Barbora Strycova in Saturday’s fiSimona Halep has booked her place in her first Wimbledon final with a comfortable straight-sets win over Elina Svitolina. Halep, whose best previous performance here was reaching the last four in 2014, proved too strong for Svitolina, who was contesting her first grand slam semi-final, with the Romanian coming through 6-1, 6-3.

Will take on Serena Williams made it at the All England Club with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over an overmatched Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday. It’ll be the 11th final at the All England Club for Williams and the first for Halep, whose only major trophy came at the French Open last year. “I look forward to it,” Williams said. Why wouldn’t she? She owns a 9-1 career record against Halep, including a victory in the Australian Open’s fourth round in January. Still, the 37-year-old American also knows that she’s been this close to No. 24 before: In 2018, her first season back on tour after the birth of her daughter, Olympia, Williams reached the finals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open but lost each time. That has left her Grand Slam total at 23, a record for the professional era and one fewer than Margaret Court accumulated while playing part of her career against amateur competition. “I have a great job and I love what I do,” Williams said, “and I’m still pretty good at what I do, I guess.”

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