Serena Williams powers past Strycova into Wimbledon final
Williams to face Halep in Saturday's final aiming to equal Margaret Court's record of 24 singles Majors
London — Serena Williams powered through to her 11th Wimbledon final as she overwhelmed unseeded Czech Barbora Strycova in a brutal 6-1 6-2 victory on Centre Court on Thursday.
Clobbering huge serves and forehands, the veteran American was always in control as she set up a showdown with Romanian former world No1 Simona Halep in Saturday’s final.
The 37-year-old Williams will become the oldest woman to contest a Grand Slam final in the professional era and victory will take her alongside Margaret Court’s record 24 singles Majors.
Strycova, the oldest first-time Grand Slam semifinalist at 33, boasts a tricky game that scrambled the mind of Britain’s Johanna Konta in the quarterfinals. But seven-times Wimbledon champion Williams is made of much sterner stuff and simply bulldozed her way through her opponent’s lightweight resistance.
Strycova held for 1-1 in the first set but any notion that a contest would break out disappeared in the blink of an eye as she went 5-1 behind. She had a chance to slow the Williams advance when she got to 0-40 on the 11th seed’s serve with the help of a netcord but Williams raised the tempo to reel off five points, ending the first set in 27 minutes with an ace.
Williams broke for 3-2 in the second set as Strycova dribbled an attempted drop shot into the net and again to move 5-2 ahead — Strycova emitting a piercing scream as she wafted a straightforward volley long.
The crowd were willing Strycova to hang in for a little longer and roared their approval when she showed great defensive skills to win the first point as Williams served for the match. But there was to be no comeback.
Williams fired down a huge serve on match point and had the simplest of forehands to stroke away and seal her place in the final.
Halep became the first Romanian woman to reach the final when she defeated Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina 6-1 6-3. The 27-year-old seventh seed, who was French Open champion in 2018, will be playing in her fifth Grand Slam final.
“It’s an amazing feeling but I am also excited and nervous. It is one of the best moments of my life,” said Halep. “The match was not easy, the games were long and went deep.
“I fought hard to win this match and I was strong mentally and physically and had the right tactics.”