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Wimbledon 2019: Women's final preview

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Roar Guru
12th July, 2019
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And then there were two.

After a tournament highlighted by massive upsets, breakthroughs and very little controversy, the Venus Rosewater Dish will go on the line tonight when Serena Williams and Simona Halep go head to head in the ladies’ Wimbledon final.

The stakes couldn’t have been higher for Williams, who will attempt once again to equal the all-time record of most singles Grand Slam titles held by Margaret Court, with 24.

The American had the chance to do this twice last year, but missed out at Wimbledon and the US Open where she lost championship matches to Angelique Kerber and Naomi Osaka, respectively.

The 37-year-old entered this year’s Championships having not played much tennis this year owing to injuries, but has displayed the form that saw her dominate the tour for the first half of this decade after very nearly losing her life following a serious foot injury in 2010.

They say you can only defeat who’s in front of you, and that was the case when she required three sets to take down Ashleigh Barty’s conqueror, Alison Riske, in the quarter-finals.

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It was the second time in as many majors that a Barty-Williams showdown went begging, after the American lost to compatriot Sofia Kenin in the third round of the French Open (Kenin lost her next match to Barty, the eventual champion there).

She only had to defeat two seeds to reach the championship match, taking down last year’s semi-finalist Julia Goerges and Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro in the third and fourth rounds respectively.

As expected, she made light work of Barbora Strycova in the semi-finals, losing just three games in a comprehensive defeat of the Czech.

On the other hand, seventh seed Simona Halep has created history by becoming the first player from Romania to reach the final at Wimbledon, where she will hope to compliment last year’s French Open success with a second Grand Slam title.

Simona Halep of Romania. (Imaginechina via AP Images)

Halep did not have to face a seed until the semi-finals, where she defeated Elina Svitolina for the loss of just four games, but it’s also worth noting her run to the championship match also included defeating former world number one Victoria Azarenka in the third round.

The 27-year-old also settled an old score against Zhang Shuai in the quarter-finals, the Chinese having upset her in the first round of the Australian Open three-and-a-half years ago.

If she is to claim her second major title, she will face tennis’ equivalent of Mount Everest – facing Serena Williams at what is historically her most successful Grand Slam tournament, and the history the American stands to make if she is victorious.

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But as Angelique Kerber and Maria Sharapova proved last year and in 2004 respectively, nothing is impossible if you take her on at her own game.

The American has also lost her past two major finals, and will surely want to avoid losing a third straight tonight.

Here is your all-important guide to the 2019 Wimbledon Ladies’ Singles final.

[11] Serena Williams (USA) vs [7] Simona Halep (ROU)
Saturday, July 13
Not before 2:00pm (local time) (11:00pm AEST)
Centre Court

Head-to-head
All matches: S Williams 9-1
At the Grand Slams: S Williams 3-0
At Wimbledon: S Williams 1-0
In finals: S Williams 2-0

Last meeting: S Williams won 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, fourth round, 2019 Australian Open.

Serena Williams’ road to the final
Round 1: defeated Giulia Gatto-Monticone (ITA) 6-2, 7-5
Round 2: defeated Kaja Juvan (SLO) 2-6, 6-2, 6-4
Round 3: defeated [18] Julia Goerges (GER) 6-3, 6-4
Round 4: defeated [30] Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) 6-2, 6-2
Quarter-final: defeated Alison Riske (USA) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3
Semi-final: defeated Barbora Strycova (CZE) 6-1, 6-2

Simona Halep’s road to the final
Round 1: defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 6-4, 7-5
Round 2: defeated Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROU) 6-3, 4-6, 6-2
Round 3: defeated Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 6-3, 6-1
Round 4: defeated Cori Gauff (USA) 6-3, 6-3
Quarter-final: defeated Zhang Shuai (CHN) 7-6 (7-4), 6-1
Semi-final: defeated [8] Elina Svitolina (UKR) 6-1, 6-3

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The stats that matter
* This is Serena Williams’ 32nd Grand Slam final, and 11th at Wimbledon. She is aiming for her eighth Wimbledon title after previously triumphing in 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2016. She is the oldest player, male or female, to reach a Grand Slam singles final.
* This is Simona Halep’s fifth Grand Slam final, and first at Wimbledon. She is aiming for her second Grand Slam final after previously winning last year’s French Open title.
* This will be their eleventh meeting overall, fourth at the Grand Slams and second at Wimbledon. This will be the third time they’ve met in a final. Serena Williams has won all of their previous meetings at this level.
* The only time Halep defeated Williams, the Romanian dealt her a then-record 6-0, 6-2 defeat at the 2014 WTA Finals.
* Halep is the first Romanian to reach the final at Wimbledon. She is the 17th different opponent to face Williams in a Grand Slam final, and the seventh to do so at Wimbledon (after Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, Vera Zvonareva, Agnieszka Radwanska, Garbine Muguruza and Angelique Kerber).
* Only six players (V Williams, Sharapova, Samantha Stosur, Muguruza, Kerber and Naomi Osaka) have managed to beat Williams in a Grand Slam final. Halep is attempting to become the seventh.
* Williams is aiming once again to equal the all-time singles record of 24 Grand Slam titles held by Margaret Court. A win here could see her claim sole ownership of this record by winning the US Open in September.

Prediction
Serena Williams in straight sets.