It took just 55 minutes for Simona Halep, the former French Open and seventh seed at Wimbledon this year, to beat Serena Williams to claim her second Grand Slam title in one of the dominant finals in recent memory.
Halep had beaten Williams just once in ten previous meetings coming into this match, and was the underdog today considering Williams’ history at this tournament, having won the title seven times, and falling in the final 12 months ago.
Yet, in one of the most astonishing performances the Centre Court crowd will have ever seen, Halep was in control from the very start. Whilst Williams made 26 unforced errors, just three came off the Romanian’s racket, and she didn’t drop serve once in a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 win.
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It was Halep who looked nerve-free at the very start, breaking twice to lead 4-0 in just 11 minutes, with the Romanian striking the ball so sweetly and Williams looking uncomfortable on court, not moving her feet well and striking the ball poorly. The American got on the board at 1-4 and held a break point on Halep’s next service game, though the Romanian saved it to go 5-1 up, and converted a second set point on her next service game to take it.
Williams seemed to recover after a sloppy start, and it was going comfortably on serve from both women to start the second set with the score at 2-2. Halep, however, was not dropping her level and continued to ramp up the pressure, breaking for a third time and consolidating from 15-30 down to lead 4-2. By now, the seventh seed was completely overrunning the American, and second break of serve was backed up by a hold to love to capture the title.
Whilst a lot will be made about Williams losing in her third Grand Slam final in a row, and therefore still not equalling Margaret Court’s record of 24 slams, full credit must go to Halep for perhaps the best match of her career on arguably the biggest stage in tennis.
Having fallen down to eighth in the rankings after failing to defend her French Open title, the Romanian will be back up to fourth after her efforts this past fortnight, and is now a multiple Grand Slam winner following her triumph in Paris in June last year. Halep is the first ever Romanian women to win multiple Grand Slam singles titles, and the first ever Romanian to win the title here.