In Brief

Simona stuns Serena at Wimbledon: game, set and ‘best match’ for Halep

Romanian blows away seven-time champion in less than an hour on Centre Court

Simona Halep played the match of her life to blow away Serena Williams and win her first Wimbledon women’s singles title.  

The Romanian was the underdog against seven-time Wimbledon champion Williams, but it took the seventh seed just 55 minutes to secure the 6-2, 6-2 victory. 

It was a stunning effort by Halep, who has now won two grand slam titles after her victory at the French Open in 2018. For Williams the wait for a record-equalling 24th grand slam title goes on.

Following her victory on Centre Court on Saturday 27-year-old Halep said: “It was my best match. Serena has always inspired us so thanks for that. it was the first time in front of the Royal Box. 

“I had nerves! My stomach was not very well before I came out on court. But I just concentrated on doing my best. 

“It was my mum’s dream. she said when I was ten that if I want to do something in tennis it is to play in the Wimbledon final. I told people in the locker room that if I win I will get membership for life, it was one of the motivations for me.

“I have changed my game a bit to win more matches on the grass and this year I felt more that I could do more with the ball and I cannot wait to get back next year.”

Williams paid tribute to her rival and said: “She literally played out of her mind. When a player plays that amazing then you have to take your hat off and say well done. 

“I’ve got to keep trying, keep fighting and enjoying the sport. I love coming out here and playing in front of you guys. It’s always fun. My team is amazing. Thanks for the support and I love you all.”

Reactions to Halep’s stunning victory

Daniel Dobre, Simona Halep’s coach

“She played very well this year - in Miami, in Roland Garros and Eastbourne - and this week she found everything so she won. I started working with her more in 2013 and was with her in 2014 when she beat Serena, it is a long collaboration, but for sure these last four months have been the best.” 

Kate Battersby, Wimbledon.com

“History wastes no time listening to those who speak of what is likely to happen. History heeds only those who make it happen - and in the women’s final at Wimbledon 2019, Simona Halep wrote her own name large. The No.7 seed, whose name appeared on no one’s list of likely winners before The Championships began, became the first Romanian ever to win a Wimbledon title.”

Kevin Mitchell, The Guardian

“Simona Halep played a near-flawless final on Saturday to become the first Romanian woman to win Wimbledon, simultaneously wrecking Serena Williams’s bid for a record-equalling 24th major, a dream that grows more unlikely by the day.”

Russell Fuller, BBC tennis correspondent

“At the start of the second set you could see that Simona Halep was still that bit better, actually a lot better. I don’t think anyone is going to feel short-changed by the 56 minutes of tennis that they have seen today because they have seen one of the all time great Wimbledon final performances.”

John McEnroe, speaking on the BBC

“I’m shocked. She obviously is a tremendous and, at this stage in her career, superior athlete. But I didn’t think it would intimidate Serena Williams as much as it did today. Halep completely and thoroughly outplayed her. It wasn’t even a match. There’s only a handful of times in your life when you feel as though you’re in the zone like that and that was one of them.”

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