Serena Williams’ quest to tie Margaret Court’s Grand Slam singles record will have to wait.
Aiming to win her 24th title at age 37, Williams fell to Simona Halep at Wimbledon 6-2, 6-2 on Saturday. The 27-year-old Halep became the first Romanian tennis player to ever win at Wimbledon.
Nothing seemed to work for Williams, who did not win a single break point against Halep. She also won just 59 percent of her first serves and struggled to put away Halep at the net.
Halep was nothing short of dominant, despite just one ace in two sets that lasted under an hour. She got off to a hot start, winning the first four games, and after going down 2-1 to start the second set, Halep rattled off five straight games to earn the win.
Halep won 29 of her 39 first serves and only had three unforced errors to Williams’ 26, using her excellent speed and stamina to outlast Williams.
“I had nerves,” Halep said after the win on the broadcast. “My stomach was not very well before the match, but I knew there was not time for emotions. I came out on the court and gave my best. It’s something very special, and I’ll never forget it.”
This is Halep’s second major title in five championship appearances with her first title coming at the 2018 French Open over Sloane Stephens. It was also Halep’s first win in four matches against Williams in major tournaments, although the first three all went three sets.
For Williams, the quest will continue for Grand Slam title No. 24. Her last win came in the 2017 Australian Open while she was pregnant, but she’s made three other finals appearances since.
Williams is already considered the greatest in her sport with or without Court’s record, but she has stated that reaching that magic number remains a goal. Her attention will turn next to the US Open, which begins in earnest on Aug. 26.
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