Heading into the Wimbledon Final many thought this would be the day when Serena Williams captured her 24th Grand Slam Title. Williams had the overall record over Simona Halep entering the match with nine wins in the last 10 matches. Halep only has one Grand Slam Title to her name winning the French Open in 2018. It seemed like today would be the day for Williams, but Halep played arguably the best match of her career.
Halep once struggled on grass and injured her ankle in the semifinals of 2014. As she has grown as a player so has her game and appreciation for the grass courts of Wimbledon. Earlier in the tournament Halep tweeted that she loves grass and today it showed.
From the beginning Halep looked strong putting Williams in difficult positions for shots. Even when it seemed like Williams would win a point with an impressive shot of her own Halep would seemingly come out of nowhere and return the ball out of the reach of Williams. Halep was winning point after point, breaking Williams’ infamous serve and finding rhythm with her own serve as well. Halep won the first set in commanding fashion 6-2. The slow start for Williams created frustration for her and perhaps reminded her of her 2018 Wimbledon Finals defeat to Angelique Kerber.
With the first set now behind them perhaps it could be the break that Williams needed to refocus. Also, could Halep sustain her level of play against one of the sport’s best?
The second set was much of the same. There were moments of brilliance from Williams, but she only yelled her emphatic, “Come On!” a couple of times throughout the match. She spent much of the match chasing after balls well hit by Halep into the corners of the court. Halep carried the momentum from the first set into the second and did not allow Williams to get back in the match. Halep would win 4/5 break points and limit Williams to just two aces all match. The match would take only 56 minutes for Halep to claim her second Grand Slam title winning in straight sets 6-2, 6-2.
The loss for Williams is now her third loss in a row in a final bringing her all time Grand Slam Finals record to 23-8. Obviously disappointed in not winning and still chasing 24, but in true Williams fashion after the match she gave all the credit to Halep.
She literally played out of her mind. Congratulations Simona. You know it was a little deer in headlights for me. Whenever a player plays that amazing you just kind of have to take your hat off and give them a nod on the head. So congrats on all the hard work.”
Williams making it back to the finals again is a testament to her since she has played limited matches after coming back from her pregnancy. She will continue her quest for 24 at the US Open next month.
Wimbledon is one of the most historic tournaments in all of tennis so winning a title here has so much historic significance. Halep talked about it after the match that winning at Wimbledon, specifically, was a dream come true for her and her family.
Halep’s play was remarkable and while Williams did not have her best match Halep played her absolute best. She had the fewest unforced errors in a ladies’ singles final with just three. After the match when she was asked if she had ever played a match better than that she responded with, “Never, it was the best match.” When asked about her nerves which seemed few and far between she admitted she was quite nervous.
Despite the nerves Halep was able to play the match of her life and win the 2019 Wimbledon Ladies Single Title in dominant fashion.