Romanian Simona Halep has dominated the women’s Wimbledon final to leave Serena Williams stuck on 23 grand slam titles – one short of Margaret Court’s all-time record.
In just 55 minutes Halep demolished the favourite 6-2 6-2 to take her second grand slam title, having won the French Open in 2018.
The 27-year-old had only three unforced errors for the match, while Williams made 24 before the final game where Halep served out the match.
Halep had run Williams ragged from the beginning, with the American having no answer to her baseline strokes and court coverage.
After the demolition Halep paid tribute to Williams and said she had been nervous about taking on one of the game’s greats.
“I had nerves. My stomach was not very well before the match but I knew there was no time for emotions,” she said in her courtside interview.
“I just came on court and I gave my best.”
It’s something very special and I will never forget this day because it was my mum’s dream when I was about 10, 12, she said that if I want to do something in tennis I have to play the final of Wimbledon.
“So the day came. So my mum, thanks. Thanks to my parents actually.”
Williams was gracious in victory, but clearly shellshocked at her inability to dent Halep’s armour.
“Yeah, she literally played out of her mind … You know, it was a little bit of deer in the head lights for me,” Williams said.
“Whenever a player plays that amazing you kind of just have to take your hat off and give them a nod on the head, to congrats on all the hard work.”
Meanwhile Australia’s Dylan Alcott won the inaugural quad wheelchair singles final at Wimbledon, thrashing Britain’s Andy Lapthorne with whom he had won the doubles event 24 hours earlier.
Alcott, a 12-time grand-slam champion, won 6-0 6-2 on Saturday, saying he had wanted to smoke his opponent.
Halep is the first Romanian in history to win the title at the All England Club having charged ahead 4-0 inside 12 minutes.
The two service breaks were enough for Halep to clinch the first set, and there was no let-up in the second.
It’s the third time in 12 months that Williams has fallen a win short of matching Court’s tally of 24 slams, having lost the 2018 Wimbledon and US Open finals to Angelique Kerber and Naomi Osaka respectively.
Court’s record has stood for 46 years and Williams had claimed to be entering this year’s final at peace with herself as she sought to finally match it.
But it didn’t look the case as the hot favourite gifted Halep a service break in the opening game with three nervy unforced errors to set the tone for the match.
The Romanian then held to love and carved out another opportunity with some breathtaking ball-striking.
Finding the lines with some fearless ground strokes, Halep claimed another break to storm to her 4-0 lead.
Williams received encouragement from the crowd after finally winning a game, although Halep’s speed and work under pressure delivered her the first set in 26 minutes.
The key break came in the fifth game of the second set when the score was 2-2. After Williams had tried to will herself back into the contest, Halep recovered to pressure Williams and force another error that led to the break.