Wimbledon: Serena crushes Strycova; to meet Halep in final

Halep overwhelmed Svitolina to make Wimbledon history for Romania

serena-final-wimbledon-reuters Serena Williams celebrates winning her semifinal match against Czech Republic's Barbora Strycova at Wimbledon 2019 | Reuters

Serena Williams powered into her 11th Wimbledon final by crushing unseeded Czech Barbora Strycova 6-1 6-2 victory on Centre Court on Thursday at Wimbledon 2019. The 37-year-old American set up a showdown with Romanian former world number one Simona Halep in Saturday's final.

Williams will become the oldest woman to contest a Grand Slam final in the professional era and will have another chance to equal Margaret Court's record 24 singles majors, having lost in the Wimbledon and US Open finals last year.

Strycova, the oldest first-time Grand Slam semifinalist at 33, was hardly a match for seven-time Wimbledon champion Williams, still seeking her first title since becoming a mother in 2017.

Strycova held for 1-1 in the first set but was soon bulldozed by Williams as the latter ended the first set in 27 minutes with a booming ace. Strycova managed to make it 2-2 in the second set. But that was as far as she could go in the match, as Williams reeled off the remaining points to seal her place in the final.

Meanwhile, Simona Halep became the first Romanian woman to reach the Wimbledon final on Thursday 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.

Halep, who had knocked out new star, 15-year-old Coco Gauff in the last 16, lost in her previous semifinal appearance at Wimbledon to Eugenie Bouchard in 2014. However, she said she was a different player now and had taken to grass.

Svitolina, the first Ukrainian woman to reach a Grand Slam semifinal, and Halep traded shots aplenty and break points in the opening two games which took over 20 minutes to complete but Halep emerged on top with a 2-0 lead.

Svitolina, being watched from the players box by her English coach Andy Bettles and French boyfriend and ATP star Gael Monfils, briefly raised her game to break back.

However, Halep broke again immediately and 24-year-old Svitolina gave an indication of her increasing frustration when she netted a simple volley and lashed out, kicking the ball into the net.

Worse was to come for Svitolina on her next service game when Halep produced a stunning shot to go 5-1.

The 27-year-old Romanian dashed across court to get to Svitolina's drop shot and flashed it cross court.

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.

Although Svitolina stayed with Halep for the first part of the second set, the self-belief and fight had gone and when the Romanian broke for 4-3 it was game over.

All that was left was for Halep to raise her arms in the air and her eyes to the sky blowing a kiss a the same time.

(With agency inputs)