23-time Grand Slam champion and former seven-time Wimbledon champion, Serena Williams is the bookmakers’ favourite to win the Wimbledon Ladies final against Simona Halep on Saturday.
The 37-year-old has not won a Grand Slam tournament since her record-breaking win at the 2017 Australian Open. Since then she has given birth to a daughter. Serena Williams is 1/2 favourite with the bookmakers to move two clear of Steffi Graf in the all-time list of Ladies Grand Slams winners. Don’t forget, Williams actually had a further 14 Women’s Doubles Grand Slam titles and two in the Mixed Doubles.
Williams looked back to her best on Thursday as she annihilated Czech Repbulic’s Barbora Strycova, 6-1, 6-2 in the semi-final. This came after a shaky 6-4 4-6 6-3 victory over fellow American Alison Riske in the quarter-finals and dropping a set to Slovenia’s 18-year-old Kaja Juvan in the second round.
Serena Williams won her first of seven Wimbledon titles by beating sister Venus in the 2002 final. That came after winning the French Open the previous month, and she’d go on to hold all four trophies at the same by winning the US Open later that year, followed by the 2003 Australian Grand Slam. Her six other victories at SW19 came against Venus Williams (2003), Venus Williams (2009), Vera Zvonareva (2010), Agnieszka Radwanska (2012), Garbine Muguruza (2015) and Angelique Kerber (2016).
Standing on the opposite side of the court will be former World number 1 and one-time Grand Slam winner, Simona Halep. The 27-year-old had never previously gone past the semi-finals at Wimbledon before thrashing Sweden’s Elina Svitolina 6-1 6-3 in the first of the ladies semi-finals on Thursday.
Halep should not be overlooked. Although she has been known to choke in big matches earlier in her career, she has looked quite dominating in reaching the final – beating China’s Zhang Shuai 7-6 6-1 in the quarter-finals, teenage American sensation Cori Gauff 6-3 6-3 in the fourth round, and Victoria Azarenka 6-3 6-1 in the third round. Though the Belarusian had started that match very well before coming up with unforced error after unforced error.
The Romanian has spent much of the past two years as the world number 1, mainly thanks to her performances outside of the Slams. However, she took her first and only major to date by defeating Sloane Stephens in three sets at the 2018 French Open. She’d lost all three of her previous Grand Slam finals prior to that point – losing to Maria Sharapova (2014 French Open), Jelena Ostapenko (2017 French Open) and Caroline Wozniacki (2018 Australian Open).
It wouldn’t be a huge upset should Simona Halep win the final on Saturday, but it would come as a surprise to many. If both players play as they have been in the build up to the final then we could be in for a three-set thriller. However, many feel the Romanian may choke in another final. But this is her first since winning a Grand Slam, so now that she’s got that monkey off her back perhaps we’ll see a different side to Halep’s game…