Women’s final locked in with Serena Williams taking on Simona Halep

Serena Williams made it look easy in the Wimbledon semifinals. What she really cares about, of course, is what comes next.

That’s why she puts in all the work. Why she keeps at it with everything she’s already won, everything she’s already accomplished.

Williams is once again on the verge of an eighth Wimbledon championship and 24th Grand Slam title, moving into the final at the All England Club with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over an overmatched Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday.

On Saturday, Williams will take on No. 7-seed Simona Halep of Romania, a 6-1, 6-3 winner over No. 8 Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in the first semifinal under a cloudy sky at Centre Court.

Old versus new

It’ll be the 11th final at the All England Club for Williams and the first for Halep, whose only major trophy came at the French Open last year.

“I look forward to it,” Williams said.

Why wouldn’t she? She owns a 9-1 career record against Halep.

Still, the 37-year-old American also knows that she’s been here before: In 2018, her first season back on tour after the birth of her daughter, Olympia, Williams reached the finals at both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open but lost both.

That has left her Grand Slam total at 23, a record for the professional era and one fewer than Margaret Court accumulated while part of her career against amateur competition.

“I have a great job and I love what I do,” Williams said, “and I’m still pretty good at what I do, I guess.”

Sure, Serena. Just pretty good.

It seemed as if Halep might be in for a long afternoon when her semifinal against Svitolina began with a pair of games encompassing 32 points across 20 minutes.

Halep excels at this type of play, more frequently seen on clay courts than grass, and soon enough was on her way to her fifth Grand Slam final.

Svitolina, seeded No. 8, had never been to the final four at any Slam. With her boyfriend, former top-10 player Gael Monfils, in the stands, Svitolina made things competitive enough at the outset.

Svitolina even earned three break chances in that opening game, but Halep eventually held there on the 16th point. Another game of the same length followed, and there again were three break points, except the difference was that Halep converted her last when Svitolina pushed a backhand wide.

While Svitolina would break back at love, that was pretty much the end of her challenge to Halep, who scrambled to cover the court so well, took balls early and created angles that earned her points.

“She played unbelievable today,” Svitolina said. “She was moving really good, striking the ball perfectly.”

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