Sport Tennis Wimbledon: Navratilova says Williams set to equal Margaret Court’s record
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Wimbledon: Navratilova says Williams set to equal Margaret Court’s record

History beckons: Serena Williams is on the verge of equalling Margaret Court's record of 24 grand slam titles. Photo: Getty
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Martina Navratilova believes Serena Williams will win her 24th major over Romanian Simona Halep at Wimbledon on Saturday night (AEST) and equal Margaret Court’s all-time record.

The nine-time Wimbledon champion says Williams has played herself into great form this tournament and only “father time and a lack of desire” could beat her now.

Writing for the wtatennis.com website, Navratilova maintained the World No.10 was a “younger 37-year-old than she was when she played in her last grand slam final at Wimbledon in 1994.

“Serena, who turns 38 in September, has now beaten my record and on Saturday will become the oldest woman to appear in a major singles final in the Open Era,” she wrote.

“Serena is a much younger 37-year-old than I was.

When I was her age, I had played many more matches than her, so she’s much fresher in the legs. And the way she plays, the points don’t last long.”

Navratilova has been impressed with how the American is hitting the ball, writing that in her semi-final against Czech Barbora Strycova she could tell the quality of her shots by the sound they made.

“When Serena is getting hold of the ball and hitting the ball cleanly, when it is popping off the strings, her shots even sound different.”

Williams won that match easily in 6-1 6-2.

Halep has lost nine of her 10 previous matches against Williams and has yet to win at Wimbledon. Williams has seven Wimbledon singles titles.

Williams’ has had her serve working throughout this tournament and looks in far better form that her last two major finals where she lost at Wimbledon last year against Angelique Kerber and at the US Open to Naomi Osaka.

Hampered by injury, Williams had only played 12 matches in 2019 until she came to Wimbledon.

Not only has she smashed her way through the singles draw, but also tuned up as a double partner with Andy Murray. The pair were knocked out in the third round, losing to top seeds Nicole Melichar and Bruno Soares, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.

As for the underdog, Halep could hardly contain herself after winning her semi final against Ukrainian Elina Svitolina 6-1 6-3.

“I am very excited and nervous, It was one of the best moments of my life and I am trying to enjoy it,” Halep said.

“I am going to fight to the end because I really want to win this championship.”

“I’m desperate to win Wimbledon more than to stop her. I will focus on myself. I’m not thinking about her record… Her records are huge already.”

HOW THE WIMBLEDON FINALISTS LINE UP

11-SERENA WILLIAMS (USA) v 7-SIMONA HALEP (ROM)

SIMONA HALEP

Age: 27, Ranking: 7

2019 win-loss record: 35-10

Career titles: 18

Wimbledon win-loss record: 23-8

SERENA WILLIAMS

Age: 37, Ranking: 10

2019 win-loss record: 15-3

Career titles: 72

Wimbledon win-loss record: 98-11