Serena Williams will face Simona Halep for the title on Saturday. The 37-year-old, seeded 11, eased past over-matched Barbora Strycova 6-1, 6-2 while the seventh seed reached the final with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Elina Svitolina.
8.40 PM: That’s all from us today. As many would have expected, the two former Grand Slam champions and world No 1s progressed while the two first-time semi-finalists couldn’t step up.
Serena Williams and Simona Halep will meet in the final on Saturday, in what promises to be a cracker.
Serena is into her second straight Wimbledon final! The 11th seed beats Strycova 6-1, 6-2 in an under an hour!
A 14-shot rally won, a lucky net cord error earned and Strycova has a chance to prolong this at 30-15. But a cracking shot returned long and Serena seals the win with a forehand winner.
Williams vs Strycova: 6-1, 5-2
It’s one-way traffic at this point as Serena has double break points again. Strycova nets a shot & swings her racquet is a gesture of helplessness. She saves the first, tries very hard on the second but lets out a loud yell as she sends a shot out. Serena now has a chance to serve out the match.
Williams vs Strycova: 6-1, 4-2
Another easy hold to love for Serena as Strycova has just not been able to gain anything return, no matter how hard she tried.
Williams vs Strycova: 6-1, 3-2
Serena leads by a set and a break!
A good forehand return followed by a double fault brings up break point for Serena and she converts when the Czech makes an error on backhand volley to all but seal her place in a second straight Wimbledon final.
Williams vs Strycova: 6-1, 2-2
Showing a bit of serve and volley and rolling through a hold at 15. No trouble for the Serena serve at all.
Williams vs Strycova: 6-1, 1-2
Strycova is now showing her variety now, a good hold for her despite being tested at 30.
Williams vs Strycova: 6-1, 1-1
Serena almost held to love before Strycova got a point with a stunning down-the-line winner that kissed the pain. But the 37-year-old responds with an ace to hold.
Williams vs Strycova: 6-1, 0-1
Strycova gets her first ace of the match, Strycova holds with the help of second serve.
Williams vs Strycova: 6-1
From 0-40, Serena holds to take the first set in 27 minutes!
The Czech has some chance on Serena’s serve. A passing winner and her opponent has a bit of a tumble at the net and then a lucky net cord gives Strycova triple break point. She apologises, but could do with the chance.
But this is a 23-time Major champion we are talking about. First one is saved by a solid Serena serve, the second with a looping forehand winner. She has set point soon with a cunning crosscourt volley and converts with an ace. This is Serena Williams, ladies and gentlemen.
Williams vs Strycova: 5-1
Another break & Serena is serving for the set!
Once again, it is Serena who looks imperious in the game. She is moving well all over the court and answering whatever is sent to her. She gets a break points with a sweetly placed winner off a drop and then converts it when the Czech hits long.
Williams vs Strycova: 4-1
Serena consolidates the break with a love hold sealed with an ace. That looked almost easy.
Williams vs Strycova: 3-1
Seerena has the early break!
Strycova had a game point but Serena wins an excellent 16-shot rally and takes the game to deuce. She has a break point when a the Czech dumps a low shot into the net and the 37-year-old converts with a cracking passing winner when her opponent comes to the net. She is pumped!
Williams vs Strycova: 2-1
Strycova goes 30-30 on Serena’s serve again but she holds with a deftly placed crosscourt forehand winner from near the service line.
Williams vs Strycova: 1-1
The 33-year-old holds to 15, a quick one for her as she induces errors.
Williams vs Strycova: 1-0
Serena goes 30-0 up but is pegged back with errors at 30-30 before she holds with two consecutive overhead shots.
Here we go, Serena Williams to serve first!
Meanwhile, you can read Zenia D’cunha on Barbora Strycova, a first-time Grand Slam semi-finalist at 33 who shows the value of variety on grass. The Czech world No 54 knocked out four seeds, reaching her first semi-final in her 53rd main draw appearance at a Grand Slam.
Almost time for the second women’s semi-final: Serena Williams, the 7-time champion, vs Barbora Strycova, who is the oldest first-time Grand Slam semi-finalist in the Open era.
The last time Serena faced the oldest first-time Grand Slam semi-finalist, her dream of a Calendar Slam was ended by Roberta Vinci at the 2015 US Open.
“I’m trying to be the best version of myself every time I step on to court. It doesn’t matter who I play. It’s the final of Wimbledon, I cannot ask for more,” says the Romanian after her win.
Halep is the first Romanian to reach the Wimbledon final. This is also the former world No 1’s fifth Major final: She has lost (2014, 2017) and won (2018) her summit clashes at French Open and lost her only final at Australian Open final so far.
HALEP WINS 6-1, 6-3!
Quick off the block, she is 30-15 up and with a superb passing winner and she is 2 points from a win.
Svitolina sends her return long and Halep has 2 match points. The first is saved after yet another long rally but she converts the second, when Svitolina dumps her shot in the net. Fitting, given how error-strewn the first-time Grand Slam semi-finalist’s game ahs been.
Halep vs Svitolina: 6-1, 5-3
Huge hold for Halep! She is down 15 but she moves well all over court to set up points in 2 rallies that are well over 10 shots and holds with an ace down the T, her first of the match! She is a game away from a place in the final.
Halep vs Svitolina: 6-1, 4-3
Halep has the crucial break in the second set! She breaks to 15 as Svitolina send her crosscourt forehand wide. The pressure getting to the 8th seed and she us a set and a break down now.
Halep vs Svitolina: 6-1, 3-3
Another love hold for Halep as Svitolina is just unable to create chances on return.
Halep vs Svitolina: 6-1, 2-3
After those quick games, here’s a little spice in the second set.
This games sees a little action at the net as well. It is good to see the swift Romanian rush to the net.
Halep misses her first volley and looks frustrated at herself, but gets another cross court winner at the net perfectly. The games goes to deuce but Svitolina manages a good hold when the Romanian lands her forehand out.
Halep vs Svitolina: 6-1, 2-2
Well... Another love hold for Halep it is. That was quick.
STAT ALERT: Halep has won 18 of the 23 rallies that lasted 9+ shots. (Via @WTA)
This tells you the story.
Halep vs Svitolina: 6-1, 1-2
A love hold for Svitolina now. Both players enjoying a rare smooth service game after the gruelling, deuce-peppered ones in the first set.
Halep vs Svitolina: 6-1, 1-1
A love hold for Halep, this should give her some confidence after the nervy final game in the last set.
Halep vs Svitolina: 6-1, 0-1
Svitolina wins her first service game of the match! After the disastrous service numbers in the first set, she manages a smooth hold to 15.
Another gruelling game, but Halep takes the first set 6-1
What a game this has been, errors and winners and flair and faults....
The former world No 1 has found her rhythm and despite a few errors, gets a set point with a backhand winner. But another error bring up deuce. Another set point, another long shot for deuce No 2. It all seems to be going Halep’s way as she gets a third set point with lucky net cord drop... till she commits a double fault! Svitolina’s errors gift her a FOURTH set point, which is also squandered, but on a strong second serve return winner from the Ukrainian. She gets a break point but saves it, gets her FIFTH set point which is saved by a STUNNING down-the-line return by Svitolina. She brings up her SIXTH fifth point with a cracking down-the-line winner herself and this time, she CONVERTS! Halep takes the first set 6-1, but it takes her 43 minutes.
Halep vs Svitolina: 5-1
Now this game feels like we are on grass! Halep comes to the net (make that rushes to the net with super speed) and finishes points with cracking winners to get her third straight break. She will now serve for the set.
Halep vs Svitolina: 4-1
What do we have here? A game with no break points!
From 30-0 up, Halep has a brief stutter with couple of straight let serves but she manages a solid hold to consolidate her break.
Halep vs Svitolina: 3-1
Another game, another break point and Halep edges ahead again!
Svitolina makes her share of errors now as the marathon rallies continue and this time, the 7th seed converst her first to break to 30.
Halep vs Svitolina: 2-1
Svitolina breaks right back!
The 8th seed breaks to love to gain the advantage, loose shots from Halep after being switched on in the first two games.
Halep vs Svitolina: 2-0
4 deuces, 3 break points in this game as well but this time, Halep breaks!
In a game similar to the first one, there is lot of baseline punching, more errors from Svitolina and a moment of smartness from Halep to change the tempo and take control of the point in a sensational play at the net to get the crucial point before a forehand gone long gives her the early break.
Halep vs Svitolina: 1-0
That was a long first game! 5 deuces, 3 breakpoints but Halep holds.
The Ukranian goes 0-30 up on Halep’s serve before and net error gets her first point. A gruelling rally from the baseline follows and soon she induces an error and has game point soon. But the game goes to deuce and Svitolina has a break point which is saved. Halep saves the second break point with a super winner after another long rally – we are going to see a lot of those – and soon, the Romanian slices it to make it deuce again. A poorly timed double fault brings up the third break point, which is fended off with an one-the line winner. A forehand winner brings up game point and with a clever drop shot, which is returned long, the Romanian holds.
Here we go, Halep to serve first!
Paths to the Wimbledon women’s semi-finals:
1st rd: bt Daria Gavrilova (AUS) 7-5, 6-0
2nd rd: bt Margarita Gasparyan (RUS) 5-7, 6-5 - retired
3rd rd: bt Maria Sakkari (GRE x31) 6-3, 6-7 (1/7), 6-2
4th rd: bt Petra Martic (CRO x24) 6-4, 6-2
QF: bt Karolina Muchova (CZE) 7-5, 6-4
1st rd: bt Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 6-4, 7-5
2nd rd: bt Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROM) 6-3, 4-6, 6-2
3rd rd: bt Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 6-3, 6-1
4th rd: bt Coco Gauff (USA) 6-3, 6-3
QF: bt Zhang Shuai (CHN) 7-6 (7/4), 6-1
1st rd: bt Lesia Tsurenko (UKR x32) 6-3, 6-2
2nd rd: bt Laura Siegemund (GER) 6-3, 7-5
3rd rd: bt Kiki Bertens (NED x4) 7-5, 6-1
4th rd: bt Elise Mertens (BEL x21) 4-6, 7-5, 6-2
QF: bt Johanna Konta (GBR x19) 7-6 (7/5), 6-1
1st rd: bt Giulia Gatto Monticone (ITA) 6-2, 7-5
2nd rd: bt Kaja Juvan (SLO) 2-6, 6-2, 6-4
3rd rd: bt Julia Goerges (GER x18) 6-3, 6-4
4th rd: bt Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP x30) 6-2, 6-2
QF: bt Alison Riske (USA) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3
5.20 PM: The two last-four clashes are between two first-time Grand Slam semi-finalists and two former world No 1 and Major champions.
Serena Williams vs Barbora Strycova, Serena leads 3-0
2017 - Australian Open Hard last-16 7-5, 6-4
2012 - Wimbledon Grass 1st rd 6-2, 6-4
2012 - Australian Open Hard 2nd rd 6-0, 6-4
Simona Halep vs Elina Svitolina, Svitolina leads 4-3
2019 - Qatar Open Hard SF Halep 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
2018 - Italian Open Clay F Svitolina 6-0, 6-4
2017 - WTA Finals Hard 1st rd Svitolina 6-3, 6-4
2017 - Toronto Hard SF Svitolina 6-1, 6-1
2017 - French Open Clay QF Halep 3-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-0
2017 - Italian Open Clay F Svitolina 4-6, 7-5, 6-1
2013 - Sofia Hard 1st rd Halep 6-1, 6-1
5.15 PM: Hello and welcome to the live blog of the women’s singles semi-finals at Wimbledon.
11th seed Serena Williams takes on first-time semi-finalist Barbora Strycova while 8th seed Elina Svitolina, who is also in her first Grand Slam semis, takes on 7th seed Simona Halep.