That’s all from the women’s singles at Wimbledon, then. A first-time champion beats the seven-time champion in her very first final on a surface that isn’t her best. A former world No 1 flies under the radar and then digs deep to win her second Grand Slam in her fifth final.
Not man (or any) would have predicted this before the tournament, or even before the final. But that’s sport for you!
Meanwhile, here’s some reading on how Halep hustled to win her first Grand Slam, at the French Open last year.
Slam-less world No 1 no more: Halep’s thrilling French Open win brings her career full circle
There was no sign of nerves today… no sign at all?
Halep: “Well, my tummy wasn’t too good before the match started but I knew there was no time for emotions once the match started.”
Has she ever played better?
“Never. Serena always inspired us so thanks for that. It’s an honor to play in front of the Royal Box. I have no words to explain.”
“She literally played out of her mind! Congratulations Simona. It was a little bit of deer in the headlights from me. When someone plays like that you have to tip your cap and nod your head.” – Serena Williams
Meanwhile, Serena Williams’ wait for the record-equalling Grand Slam No 24 goes on. This is the third Grand Slam and second straight Wimbledon final she has lost after her return after maternity break.
She looks rueful after the match & gives all credit to her opponent. But at some point, we have to wonder: Is the No 24 weighing her down so much? She has been barely competitive in the Major finals she has played in the last year, despite being strong through the tournament.
This is Halep’s first trophy of 2019. After a poor first half of the season, this was to be a “chill” tournament. But she goes to win the whole thing!
SIMONA HALEP IS THE WIMBLEDON CHAMPION!
The Romanian beats Serena Williams 6-2, 6-2 in an hour to win her first Wimbledon and second Grand Slam title!
It was a love hold to finish the match and she drops to her knees in disbelief. A hug at the net and she is crying in her towel.
Serena Williams vs Simona Halep: 2-6, 2-5
Another double break & Halep is one game away from the trophy!
Willliams is feeling the pressure here. A double fault and soon she is 0-30 down, but she finds her serve again and gets three good points. However, this is the Serena from last year’s final: unsure, error-prone and nervous somehow. She dumps two straight shots into the net to go down deuce and give up another break point. She pulls to deuce again with clutch serving and but another mistake and she loses the Ad point. The Romanian has another chancewhich she takes with a confident winner!
That was her 25th unforced error, to just three from Halep! That tells you the story.
Serena Williams vs Simona Halep: 2-6, 2-4
Halep consolidates the break!
Williams gets a couple of points on return but the speed and defence from Halep is too hot too handle. She gets game point with a huge first serve and an error gets her the hold. As we said, NO FREE POINTS, the Romanian is making her work and still wining it.
Serena Williams vs Simona Halep: 2-6, 2-3
Halep leads by a set & a break!
Point of the match? An extended rally and Williams is trying to end the point but Halep is not among the best retrievers in women’s tennis for nothing. She puts the ball back in play and gets an error to get 30-0 up. She then wrong foots Serena at the net with a quick parry and hits an inside-out forehand at the open court to get two breaks point.
Another long rally and a frustrated Williams fluffs a simple winner, over-hitting a hot at the net to lose serve in the second set. The error count is going to take her down here... This is a huge moment in the game, Halep is pumped!
Serena Williams vs Simona Halep: 2-6, 2-2
A love hold for Halep now, with more and more Williams’ unforced errors.
Serena Williams vs Simona Halep: 2-6, 2-1
Another quick love hold for Williams.
Serena Williams vs Simona Halep: 2-6, 1-1
Williams gets another look at the Halep serve and 30-15 but misses her foot and dumps her return into the net for 30-30, a overhit forehand gives the 7th seed the edge and she takes it when Williams sends another shot wide.
Serena Williams vs Simona Halep: 2-6, 1-0
Not that it’s a surprise, but Serena is firing herself up this set. After going 0-15 down on serve, she gets a good winner at the net and doubles down in a roar to celebrate it. Next point: a fierce cross court backhand winner but soon after, she sends down a forehand long from halfway down the court. Calming herself down, she gets game point with a down the line winner and clinches it when Halep returns long.
After a start like that from Halep, there was little chance that Williams would recover from a double break down. And the Romanian is just not giving up free points in a very measured game. A lot will depend on her first service game of the second set now.
Serena Williams vs Simona Halep: 2-6
Halep takes the first 6-2 in just 36 minutes!
Serving for the set, Halep keeps her ground strokes deep and manages to send a wide shot to force an error at the net from a scrambling Serena. In an exact repeat of the previous rally and point, a long return gives her two set points. The first is saved with a big winner from Williams, the second is converted when a forehand returns long.
Serena Williams vs Simona Halep: 2-5
Love hold! Serving to stay in the set, Williams goes 30-0 up and then serves and volleys to being up game point and holds to love again. Looks like Serena has found her missing serve again, but it might be too late for this set.
Serena Williams vs Simona Halep: 1-5
HUGE hold for Halep! The confidence from the last hold seems to be helping, Williams cracks a cross court winner in the service box to go 30-15 up but and pushes to deuce with a solid return and her first break point with a powerful down-the-line winner bang in the corner. A poor shots brings up second deuce and this time, Halep sends down a huge wide serve and and a cross court forehand winner bang in the service box gives her the game.
Serena Williams vs Simona Halep: 1-4
A love hold for Serena Williams, she really needed this! She gets a first serve in, manages to hit winners after a rally and get her teeth in the final.
Serena Williams vs Simona Halep: 0-4
Williams is just not finding the range on her shots, too many groundstrokes going wide. She manages to get 2 points on return but Halep seals it with an ace. A terrific start for the 27-year-old!
Serena Williams vs Simona Halep: 0-3
What a start for Halep, she leads the first set by a double break!
A superb on the run backhand winner from Halep gives her another point and she goes 30-15 up on Williams’ serve after a lucky netcord. The American gets a solid first serve to set up the point for 30-30 but gives up another break point when she sends another forehand wide. And HALEP BREAKS WITH A STUNNING WINNER! The backhand sailed right into the corner, everything going her way here.
Serena Williams vs Simona Halep: 0-2
Halep holds to love! Unforced errors give her three game points and she holds with a solid on-the-baseline backhand winner to go 2-0 up very early!
Serena Williams vs Simona Halep: 0-1
The Serena serve is broken in the very first game! Nerves already? A good fight from the first game as Halep returns well to gets a break point when Williams dumps a shot into the net. A long forehand and the Romanian starts with a huge advantage!
Here we go, Serena Williams to serve.
6.35 PM: Serena and Halep are now on court and warming up. Williams has won the toss
6.30: It’s almost time for the final! The last time Serena Williams and SImona Halep met a Grand Slam, we had a three-set battle. The Australian Open fourth round clash was perhaps one of the best Major matches of 2019 so far where the Romanian top seed said she felt like she was hit by a train and we saw the ‘business bun’.
Will we see a repeat of that on grass? It’ll depend on their mental game as much as physical.
6.20 PM: As we wait for the final to begin, here’s a throwback. From 2002 to 2016 – the seven Wimbledon titles of Serena Williams. Read & Watch
6.15 PM: While Halep is the higher-ranked seed at 7, Williams leads a whopping 9-1. Halep’s one win was a crushing 6-0, 6-2 at the 2014 WTA Finals in Singapore.
At Grand Slams, it is Williams who leads 3-0 with the most recent one being the 2019 Australian Open where the Romanian was the top seed.
2019 - Australian Open R16, Williams 6-1, 4-6, 6-4
2016 - US Open QF, Williams 6-2, 4-6, 6-3
2011 - Wimbledon R64, Williams 3-6, 6-2, 6-1
6.10 PM: Halep is the first Top-10 player Williams will play this Wimbledon. A look at their path to the final
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
SF: bt Elina Svitolina (UKR x8) 6-1, 6-3
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
SF: bt Barbora Strycova (CZE) 6-1, 6-2
6.00 PM: Hello all and welcome to the live coverage of the women’s singles finals at Wimbledon 2019.
Seven-time champion Serena Williams takes on first-time Wimbledon finalist Simona Halep in the final that could give her the record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title. In a match that between the 11th seed and 8th seed, the lower-ranked player with 23 Majors is the favourite, of course. But it would be wrong to count the Romanian out. With her new-found resilience and relaxed attitude, she is going to put up a fight for her second Slam title. This final promises to be a cracker.