It took just 56 minutes this afternoon for world number 7 Simona Halep to win her first Wimbledon title. The 27-year-old Romanian beat Serena Williams in straight sets 6-2, 6-2.
Williams was aiming to equal the all-time Grand-Slam singles titles with her 24th and she was the favourite heading into the contest. What unfolded though was far from a contest.
Perhaps Williams was weighed down by public and personal expectations, she quickly fell 4-0 behind after just 11 minutes of the opening set.
Halep headed out onto Centre Court with no pressure on her and she played in this manner. She was relaxed and confident, attacking Williams' serve, keeping the rallies long and deep to force her into errors.
Hail Halep 🇷🇴
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2019
Halep becomes the first ever Romanian woman to win the tournament and Williams could only praise her afterward, saying “She really played out of her mind...whenever a player plays that amazing you just have to take your hat off and give her a nod.”
In her post-match interview with the BBC, Halep was joyous and charming. She was delighted with her game, saying she had never played better “I had nerves,” she said on court. “My stomach was not very well before the match. But I had no time for emotions and just came out and tried my best."
Her humble nature was endearing. After so convincingly beating possibly the greatest player of all time she was emotional. She explained what her second ever grand-slam title win meant to her, her team and her family.
“It was my mum’s dream when I was about 10. And the day came and my mum is here to see it. I have worked a lot to change a little bit my game to play on grass. I started to feel this year when the ball comes to me I knew what to do with it. I can’t wait to come back here.”
Williams then was gracious as looked on but she will be deflated and frustrated by this performance. She smiled for Halep and was polite but someone who's always so determined to win with such an amazing record will have been crushed to be the one looking on.
She has won only two of her past six grand-slam finals. The last was two-and-a-half years ago and she turns 38 next month. You can't help but wonder after watching this match, are we into the final chapter of her stellar career?