Serena Williams enters her 11th Wimbledon final knowing she is just one title away from equalling Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slams held since the 1970s.
Serena overpowered Barbora Strycova 6-1 6-2 in her semi-final clash as she seeks her eighth Wimbledon title on Saturday. And although her legacy at the All England Club is already cemented, she is now looking to secure her first title since returning to the tennis circuit in March 2018
Serena lost last year’s Wimbledon final 6-3 6-3 to Angelique Kerber and let the emotions get the better of her when she fell to Naomi Osaka at Flushing Meadows.
She may have lost four of her last six Slam finals, but there is no questioning her motivation to keep chasing records.
“I just am more calm,” she said. “Instead of having nothing to lose, I feel like I have things to lose, but I also have nothing to lose. It's like I'm in the middle.
“I really want to do it. I'm in a different place because I wasn't really playing a month ago at all. So it's all kind of coming together."
Serena remembers Singapore
Halep would have every right to feel intimidated as she prepares for her first ever Wimbledon final. Of the 10 times she has faced Serena, she has only overcome her once.
But back in 2014 the 27-year-old Romanian shocked Serena in a 6-0 6-2 win in the WTA Championships Singapore and was one of only nine times Williams has been bagelled in her career. The American has not forgotten about it either.
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“I think the biggest key with our matches is the loss that I had [in Singapore],” Serena said when she was asked about facing Halep.
“I never forgot it. She played unbelievable. That makes me know that level she played at, she can get there again. So I have to be better than that.”
Halep is seeking a second grand slam title of her career. Her long-awaited first came on her favoured clay surface at the French Open in 2018 - four months after Caroline Wozniacki defeated Halep in three sets in two hours and 49 minutes at the Australian Open.
Halep finding comfort on grass
Halep’s previous best at Wimbledon was a run to the last four back in 2014, but she comes into this final with great confidence on grass having already seen off the likes of Victoria Azarenka and 15-year-old sensation Cori Gauff en route.
“I love grass — it is first time I say that,” she said after blasting past Ukrainian Elina Svitolina 6-1 6-3 in their semi-final on centre court.
“I have started to feel more comfortable on the court. Every time the ball comes to me, I feel like I know what to do with it. I am relaxed, I am happy, I am motivated to win.”