Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 14 December 2019

Serena Williams thrashes Barbora Strycova to set up Wimbledon final with Simona Halep

Seven-time champion needed just 59 minutes to book her place in an 11th final at the All England Club

Serena Williams is aiming to win an eighth Wimbledon title and 24th grand slam. EPA
Serena Williams is aiming to win an eighth Wimbledon title and 24th grand slam. EPA

Serena Williams is one win away from equalling Margaret Court's record of 24 grand slam titles after she thrashed Barbora Strycova 6-1, 6-2 to reach the Wimbledon final on Thursday.

After Williams' battling win over Alison Riske and Strycova's emphatic win over Johanna Konta in the quarter-finals, this was expected to be a close contest between a seven-time Wimbledon champion still finding top fitness and an in-form grass court specialist.

Instead, Williams needed just 59 minutes to reach her 11th final at the All England Club as her class and the occasion proved too much for the unseeded Strycova.

Clobbering huge serves and forehands, the veteran American was always in control as she set up a showdown with Romanian former world No 1 Simona Halep in Saturday's final.

The 37-year-old Williams will become the oldest woman to contest a grand slam final in the professional era.

"It feels good to be in the final again after the year I have had," said 37-year-old Williams.

"I have just needed matches to feel good and do what I do best and that is play tennis

"I love what I do. I have a great job and I am still pretty good at it. I get a remarkable experience every time."

Williams produced a dominant performance on Thursday which has not always been the case during the Championships and she said she would not be taking seventh-seeded Halep lightly.

"She's a tough opponent," said Williams. "We always have great matches. I look forward to it."

Halep admitted she is already "nervous and excited" to play in her first Wimbledon final after defeating Elina Svitolina 6-,1, 6-3.

Halep, who was French Open champion in 2018, will be playing in her fifth grand slam final and is the first Romanian woman to reach the Wimbledon title match.

"It's an amazing feeling but I am also excited and nervous. It is one of the best moments of my life," said Halep. "The match was not easy, the games were long and went deep.

"I fought hard to win this match and I was strong mentally and physically and had the right tactics."

Halep, who had knocked out new star, 15-year-old Coco Gauff in the last 16, lost in her previous semi-final appearance at Wimbledon to Eugenie Bouchard in 2014.

However, she said she was a different player now and had taken to grass.

"I have more experience, I don't give up anymore," she said. "I plan to be the best version of myself and fight to the end."

Updated: July 11, 2019 08:14 PM