A short time after the pre-match toss of a coin which had been sent to space, pocket rocket Simona Halep blew a kiss into the sky after turning on the after-burners to win her first Wimbledon title.

Thousands packed into Centre Court and around the grounds of the All England Club knowing they may see Serena Williams match Margaret Court's record of 24 grand slam singles titles.

Yet it was the phenomenal Halep who made history, becoming the first Romanian to win a singles crown at SW19 by dismantling the legendary American 6-2 6-2.

Halep has adopted what she described as a "chill" approach since claiming her first major triumph at the French Open last year and her ice-cold temperament had Williams feeling the heat on Saturday.

The 27-year-old was the underdog against an opponent who had beaten her nine times in their 10 previous meetings, but declared she was "mentally stronger" ahead of her first Wimbledon final.

Halep stated she had fallen in love with grass during the tournament and her heart must have been throbbing as she swarmed all over a startled Williams, before planting a kiss on the Venus Rosewater Dish.

The amiable Constanta native had lift-off from the start of a one-sided contest after a gold coin that was taken on a mission to the International Space Station last year was flipped.

It was mission accomplished after just 56 minutes of a relentless, out-of-this-world masterclass from Halep in which she made only three unforced errors.

The majestic former world number one was a bundle of energy throughout, dictating rally after rally and drawing gasps from the crowd with her astonishing athleticism and skill.

Williams was beaten in straights sets by Angelique Kerber in the final last year and suffered a huge meltdown as Naomi Osaka brushed her aside in the US Open decider two months later.

The 37-year-old looked like she did not know what had hit her again during and after a regal performance with the Duchess of Cambridge and Williams' friend the Duchess of Sussex watching on from the Royal Box.

She was made to look sluggish by a vibrant Halep, who charged around the hallowed turf at rapid speed and never looked back after racing into a 4-0 lead in only 11 minutes.

Williams had a forlorn look of resignation on her face as the sprightly seventh seed defended as if her life depended on it, winning points she had no right to with incredible court coverage.

"She played out of her mind. It was a little bit deer in headlights for me," Williams said after another chance to match Court's tally passed her by in a flash.

Halep dropped to the grass that she has taken to her heart, while Williams sat in her chair staring into space.

Simona Halep revealed how she shrugged aside her previous trepidation of facing Serena Williams as she hammered the 23-time grand slam champion in Saturday's Wimbledon final.

Prior to their meeting on Centre Court, Halep had won just one of 10 meetings with the American, at the WTA Finals in Singapore five years ago, but she was simply scintillating in swatting aside her rival 6-2 6-2 in less than an hour on this occasion.

In doing so, Halep claimed her maiden title at the All England Club while Williams was left to reflect on a third successive defeat in major finals.

Halep, meanwhile, now has a second crown to add to the French Open she won in 2018, having lost all three of her grand slam finals before that Roland Garros triumph.

"Well, I thought about the match, but I didn't think at all against who I play," Halep told a media conference.

"I [have] always been intimidated a little bit when I faced Serena. She's an inspiration for everyone and the model for everyone.

"Today I decided before the match that I'm going to focus on myself and on the final of a grand slam, not on her. That's why I was able to play my best, to be relaxed, and to be able to be positive and confident against her.

"I decided this morning how I have to play against her. I knew exactly what I have to do to put her in trouble, not letting her make her game.

"When she has time, she plays unbelievable. I played many times against her. I knew how the ball is coming. I knew what she doesn't like that much.

"Today I just went for it like in Singapore. I had that image in my head. I really believed there is the chance to do the same thing. I knew I have to stay there every ball. Otherwise, when she comes back, she's very powerful.

"It's never easy to face a grand slam final. You can get intimidated by the moment. You can get nervous, too nervous.

"I have learned that it's a normal match, not thinking that much about the trophy, just going there and try to be the best as you can. So I did that.

"I said that every time I would play a final of a grand slam, I will do exactly the same thing. So today I did it."

Serena Williams insisted neither nerves or injury played a part in her Wimbledon final thrashing at the hands of Simona Halep.

The Romanian lifted her maiden title at the All England Club with a 6-2 6-2 hammering of the seven-time champion in less than an hour on Centre Court.

Williams was aiming to equal Margaret Court's record tally of 24 grand slam singles triumphs but, for a third time in a row in major finals, she came up short.

Her cause was not helped by 26 unforced errors – dwarfing Halep's count of just three – but Williams, who was hampered by a troublesome knee issue earlier this season, was still able to look back positively on her campaign.

"I don't think there was too much tension," Williams said in her media conference, later adding: "I can't say I blame injury.

"I wasn't injured when the tournament started. That really is a positive for me.

"So I just think that I just have to just keep going, keep trying, keep working, maybe be able to play some tournaments uninjured, like I did with this one. Just keep moving forward."

Asked if she feels more nervous as she enters the latter stages of her career, Williams replied: "In my 20s, I'm always expected to win, but it's a different circumstance for me.

"It seems like every grand slam final I'm in recently has been an unbelievable effort to get there. It would be interesting to see how it would be under different circumstances.

"I can't say that I have a lot of tension or [am] super tense. The only thing I can say is today I think my opponent played unbelievable."

With the final major of the year, the US Open, to start in late August, Williams is keen to manage her schedule and avoid fatigue.

"Well, I'm entered in Toronto and Cincinnati," she said. "I don't think I need to play San Jose in addition to that. I think there's a limit. I think if I overdo it, then that could also be a problem. Especially on the hard courts.

"I've been on the softer surfaces, so to say. It would be interesting to see how my knee is on the hard court. I definitely don't want to do three tournaments before a grand slam. I think it will be fine."

Simona Halep acknowledged she has never played better than she did in the Wimbledon final as the former world number one dismantled Serena Williams for her second major title.

The Romanian produced a breathtaking performance to blow away 23-time grand slam champion Williams on Saturday, running out a 6-2 6-2 winner at the All England Club.

Halep, the 2018 French Open champion, won the first four games of the match, breaking her esteemed opponent twice, and scarcely letting her level drop in a stylish, breathless display.

She collected the congratulations of Williams afterwards and then herself heralded "the best match" of her career while thanking Serena for her inspiration.

Asked if she had ever played better, Halep said: "Never. It was the best match. Serena inspired that, so thank you for that.

"I have worked a lot for this moment, it was an honour to play in front of the Royal Box. I have no words to explain. I feel great.

"I had nerves. My stomach was not very well before the match. I knew there was no time for emotions. I just came on court and gave my best."

And Halep revealed the meaning of the moment she was crowned champion.

"[It feels] unbelievable. It's something very special. I'll never forget this day," she said. "It was my mum's dream.

"When I was about 10, 12, she said if I want to do something in tennis, I have to play the final of Wimbledon. The day came. Thanks to my parents."

The new women's champion also revelled in her new status as an All England Club member, seeing her name on the honours board and then preparing to meet Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, and Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex.

"At the beginning of the tournament, I told the people at the locker room, it would be amazing because, if I win, I will get membership for life," she said. "Here I am.

"It was one of my motivations before this tournament. Now I am happy.

"[Meeting the royal family] is amazing. I didn't know that. It's even more special now. Thank you for coming, everyone from the royal family.

"It's been an honour to play here and to win my second grand slam."

Serena Williams admitted she was powerless to prevent Simona Halep storming to glory in Saturday's Wimbledon final, conceding she felt like "a deer in the headlights" in the face of such an onslaught.

Seven-time champion Williams was hoping to equal Margaret Court's record of 24 grand slam singles titles but she was blown away in less than an hour as Halep raced to a 6-2 6-2 victory on Centre Court.

In a little over 10 minutes, Williams found herself 4-0 down and it did not get much better from there as the relentless Halep showed no mercy in surging to her maiden crown at the All England Club.

Halep finished the match having made just three unforced errors while Williams committed 26, and the American was gracious in defeat during her on-court presentation.

"She literally played out of her mind. Congratulations, Simona," Williams said.

"It was a little bit of deer in the headlights for me. Whenever a player plays that amazing, you have to take your hat off and give them a nod of the head. Congrats on all the hard work.

"I've got to keep fighting, keep trying and enjoying the sport I love. Coming out here and playing in front of these guys has been a joy.

"My team is amazing, thank you guys for all of the support. I love you all."

Simona Halep was simply unstoppable as she swatted aside Serena Williams 6-2 6-2 to claim her maiden Wimbledon title in sensational fashion on Saturday.

Seven-time champion Williams was hoping to equal Margaret Court's record of 24 grand slam singles crowns, but she was blown away by Halep's blistering display on Centre Court in just 56 minutes.

Halep's French Open triumph last year had helped to lay to rest the demons of three previous major final defeats and the seventh seed looked completely at home in her first decider at the All England Club.

Williams was undoubtedly below her best, but the reality was, even at the peak of her powers, she would have struggled to live with Halep's relentless accuracy and energy, the world number seven committing only three unforced errors.

Her rival, meanwhile, tallied 26 as she fell to defeat in a third straight major final for the first time in her career, while Halep celebrated the most resounding of triumphs by sinking to her knees and then covering her mouth with her hand, seemingly in disbelief at her own display.

Roberto Bautista Agut might return to Wimbledon on his stag party after losing to Novak Djokovic and one young spectator raised eyebrows as he read a book rather than watch Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal do battle.

Bautista Agut was due in Ibiza with a half a dozen friends this week, but they left the party island to watch him at the All England Club after he reached the semi-finals.

Defending champion Djokovic failed to read the script, knocking the Spaniard out in four sets on Centre Court.

There were gasps throughout the grounds as Federer and Nadal served up another classic, which the Swiss legend won to set up a showdown with Djokovic, but it seemed not everyone was totally captivated.

Catch up on what was happening at the grass-court grand slam on Friday.

BAUTISTA AGUT TO MAKE UP FOR LOST TIME

Bautista Agut was happy to miss out on a few days of celebration with his friends, but is ready to let his hair down over the weekend. And his time at Wimbledon may not be over.

"Now I think I deserve some vacations. We will have some time off after that," he said.

Asked about the Ibiza trip, he revealed: "We had everything reserved from Thursday or Wednesday until Sunday. They all knew before it was a small chance I would be here, me playing in the quarter-finals. Well, it was nice.

"I think they really had a good plan. They spent Wednesday in Ibiza. They came to watch a good match, the semi-final of Wimbledon. Maybe tomorrow we come back."

 

NOT ALL EYES ON CHAPTER 40 OF FEDERER-NADAL

It seemed impossible to take your eyes off a captivating 40th battle between Federer and Nadal.

Two of the all-time greats struck 83 winners between them, drawing roars of approval from a packed Centre Court crowd and thousands around the grounds.

Tickets were like gold dust for a pulsating contest that will live long in the memory, yet one young boy in the crowd was spotted reading a book rather than being transfixed on the action.

Here is hoping he did not miss too much of chapter 40 of their great rivalry.

COINS READY FOR LIFT-OFF

The coins used for the toss ahead of the finals will definitely not be scaling new heights.

NASA astronaut Drew Feustal took the pair of bespoke gold coins to space last year after All England Tennis Club chairman Philip Brook came up with the idea at the 2017 championships.

They travelled to the International Space Station aboard Mission 56 in a journey that will be featured in a new one-minute film called "The Coin Toss."

It will be the stars who are crowned Wimbledon champions who are feeling out of this world this weekend.

Serena Williams and Simona Halep plan to "chill" and stay "calm" in the heat of a Wimbledon final battle on Saturday but that could be easier said than done.

Williams will get another chance to match Margaret Court's record of 24 grand slam titles on Centre Court, 12 months after she was denied by Angelique Kerber.

The legendary American kept her composure during that defeat, but suffered a meltdown in a shock US Open final loss to Naomi Osaka last September.

Williams was also fined $10,000 for damaging a court with her racket during a practice session at the All England Club this month.

The 37-year-old says she has learned a more relaxed approach is the way forward as she prepares to face Halep at SW19.

Reflecting on her major final losses in 2018, she said: "I had to get to those finals. Looking back, to even be in those two finals last year was unbelievable.

"Now I'm in a different place. Like I just am more calm. 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."

She added after a semi-final defeat of Barbora Strycova on Thursday: "I was actually thinking this morning, when I won my first Wimbledon. I think it was against Venus.

"I was trying to tap into those emotions. I was really calm. I remember I think I hit an ace. I just remember how it's so, so different when you're younger as opposed to now. Now I just need to relax and do what I can do."

Halep was the epitome of composure in a straight-sets demolition of Elina Svitolina that secured her place in a first Wimbledon final.

The amiable Romanian won her maiden grand slam title at the French Open last year and says keeping her cool has been key to her success.

Halep said: "I'm in a good position. I have no pressure on myself. I have expectations for myself that I can do a great job on Saturday. Still I'm chill.

"It doesn't mean that I'm not working hard or I'm not focused on what I have to do. It's just that as a person I want to chill. We see that I'm better on court.

"I am confident. I know that everything is possible. If you don't give up, you have a better chance to do great things. I have learned that. I understood that I'm better now. I'm stronger."

With so much at stake, it remains to be seen whether they can practice what they preach.

Simona Halep will face what she described as a "big challenge" in her first Wimbledon final against the great Serena Williams on Saturday.

Halep knows all about the pressure of playing in grand slam deciders, losing three before claiming her maiden major title at the French Open last year.

The former world number one is also well aware of how hard it is to beat 23-time grand slam singles champion Williams, having come out on top in only one of their 10 encounters.

Halep's solitary triumph over the veteran, winner of the singles title at Wimbledon on seven occasions, came at the 2014 WTA Finals.

So how can the Romanian go about denying the American a record-equalling 24th major success at SW19?

Here is what the three women to have beaten the 37-year-old legend in a Wimbledon final have said about achieving the feat.

 

SHARAPOVA: NO EASY ROAD TO BEATING SERENA

Williams was expected to be too strong for Maria Sharapova, but the 17-year-old Russian pulled off a stunning 6-1 6-4 victory in 2004.

The teenager showed no fear on Centre Court, blowing away a strong favourite who had won the title the two previous years to claim her first major title.

Sharapova went on to become a fierce rival of Williams' and claims she heard her crying in the locker room after dethroning her on the hallowed grass 15 years ago.

She said of the challenge of facing Williams: "There's no easy road to victory. You're going to have your bumps. That's the way I see it."

 

VICTORY SEEMED SO FAR AWAY - VENUS

While losing any final is hard to take, losing to your sister should soften the blow somewhat.

It was Venus who won the battle of the siblings in 2008, lifting the Venus Rosewater Dish for a fifth time following a 7-5 6-4 victory.

There were long baseline exchanges between the heavy-hitters and the older sister came from a break down in both sets to come out on top.

Venus said: "When you're in the final against Serena, five [titles] seems so far away. She played so awesome so it was really a task."

 

STAYING 'COOL' HELPED KERBER PUT THE HEAT ON

Angelique Kerber stopped Williams from matching Margaret Court's tally of 24 grand slam singles titles with a 6-3 6-3 win last year.

Kerber made only five unforced errors in a brilliant performance, hardly putting a foot run to deny Williams her first title since becoming a mother.

The German said: "I didn't feel like she lost the match, I won it.

"I was trying not to think too much that I was playing against Serena, staying on my side of the court. Staying a little bit cool, being not too emotional.’

Simona Halep kept herself in the frame for a first Wimbledon title and England's cricketers created an increased buzz in SW19 on Thursday.

Halep potted a semi-final win against Elina Svitolina before being asked about her interest in snooker given three-time world champion Mark Selby is one of only two people she follows on Twitter.

David Beckham was among the famous faces in the Royal Box to see Halep and Serena Williams seal their places in the women's singles final.

There was also excitement at the All England Club for a major sporting showdown taking place in Birmingham, where England beat Australia to reach the Cricket World Cup final.

Catch up on what was happening around the grounds on day 10 of the grass-court grand slam.

 

POCKET ROCKET HALEP CLEARS UP SELBY FOLLOW

Halep has huge Twitter support but chooses those she follows carefully, selecting only her former coach Darren Cahill and Leicester cueman Selby.

Romania's 2018 French Open champion might not know the intricacies of snooker, but she is a fan of the player nicknamed 'The Jester'.

"I have no idea how you play snooker. But I appreciate him." Halep said.

"He's been in Romania a few times. I met him. Also I have a snooker ball signed from him. That's why I follow him."

 

AUSTRALIA SOS SIGNALS CREATE A RACKET

Crowds gathered to watch a band strike up with numbers such as Abba's SOS as Pimm's and champagne flowed late in the morning.

The distress signals from Australia players at Edgbaston also went down well as word reached Wimbledon that England were on course to reach the World Cup final.

Australia's early collapse in their semi-final was being discussed on the walk-up towards the All England Club grounds and as the tennis was taking place.

While some were clearly as confused by the cricket as Halep is by snooker, the majority were looking forward to another huge final in London this weekend after England set up a clash with New Zealand at Lord's.

 

BECKS AND BRANSON WATCH ON

Beckham is a Wimbledon regular and all eyes were on the former England football captain when he rocked up in dapper attire.

As Halep and Williams made statements on the main showcourt, Beckham made one of his own with a gold jacket, blue and white striped shirt and a snazzy tie.

Sir Richard Branson sat just along from Beckham to witness Halep and Williams go about their business in ruthless fashion.

 

AMERICAN ROGER FAN FED UP

While most people know what is in store well before they arrive at Wimbledon, there can be the odd one unsure what action will be served up.

An American visitor was heard asking "What time is Federer on?" and appeared bemused when informed he faces Rafael Nadal on Friday.

Serena Williams is taking Tiger Woods' Masters triumph as her Wimbledon inspiration as she bids to land a record-equalling 24th grand slam title.

After years of injury agony and torment in his personal life, Woods landed his 15th golf major at Augusta in April at the age of 43.

The chances of Woods winning again at that level had been repeatedly written off, and there have been some suspicions that his fellow American Williams might fall painfully short of matching Margaret Court's all-time grand slam haul.

Williams, though, has never lost belief in her ability to scoop titles at the highest level, and the 37-year-old usually achieves what she sets out for.

She will tackle Romanian Simona Halep in Saturday's final, eyeing Wimbledon singles glory for an eighth time.

She feels medical technology is extending the careers of sporting greats such as her, and said: "That's the only reason I'm able to compete. I feel like if we had this technology 20 years ago, maybe Michael Jordan would still be playing basketball. I just feel like we know so much more about our bodies.

"Things I do differently now than when I first was on tour, it's lengthening my career. It's not just me, it's Roger [Federer], Tom Brady, Peyton [Manning] played forever. There are so many athletes now that are able to do better and play longer, even play some of their best way after they are 30.

"Those athletes, Tiger obviously, what he did at the Masters, was on top of my mind. Those athletes are incredibly inspiring. That's one thing that keeps me moving forward."

Williams swatted aside Barbora Strycova in their semi-final on Thursday, winning 6-1 6-2 in 59 minutes.

She pointed to her mixed doubles experience with Andy Murray over the past week as a crucial part of her championships, believing it has helped her sharpness around the net.

"I kept telling you guys I thought the doubles would help me," Williams said in her post-match press conference. "I really feel like it helped me, not just for today and this event, but hopefully it will help me in the future."

Williams was in this position 12 months ago, only to lose to Angelique Kerber in the final. And at the US Open she again moved to the brink of the 24th grand slam but was beaten by Naomi Osaka in a controversial title match.

Because she has come so far in her comeback, after giving birth in September 2017, Williams feels better-placed now to manage the pressure of a Wimbledon final.

She added: "I have been, just this whole year, trying to stay fit so I can be able to play in grand slams."

Halep will be no pushover and Williams recognises the former world number one poses a threat.

"There's so many impressive things about her," Williams said. "You can't underestimate her. She's like a little powerhouse."

Simona Halep rated a straight-sets demolition of Elina Svitolina as one of her best performances on grass and says she can move to another level in the Wimbledon final against Serena Williams.

Halep cruised into her first championship match at the All England Club with an emphatic 6-1 6-3 defeat of eighth seed Svitolina on Centre Court.

The 2018 French Open champion says she has grown to love grass and has no fear of facing Williams, who will be out to equal Margaret Court's record tally of 24 grand slam singles titles on Saturday.

Halep has lost her last five matches against the American, but feels well-equipped to gain revenge when she becomes the first Romanian woman to play in a Wimbledon singles final.

"I have played many matches against her. Many of them were very close," said the former world number one.

"I have learned that I have a chance. Now I believe that I have my chance to win against her. Of course, I respect what she has done and what she's doing.

"But now I feel stronger mentally facing her. We will see what is going to happen. It's just a big challenge for me."

She added: "I want to focus on what I can do better. So I have a few things that I want to do better in the next round - I need to do better.

"But at least I'm in the final, so I will not put pressure on myself. I just want to plan what I have to play in the final, then to enjoy it."

Halep was a cut above WTA Finals champion Svitolina and says there is more to come.

"She was really strong. She didn't give up a point. The rallies were very long and very powerful, as well. It was really tough to stay there," Halep added.

"But I knew that I was prepared to fight for every ball. I played many times against her, and I knew that she doesn't let the rhythm drop.

"I had to be there, I had to be strong. Today I think it was one of the best matches on grass."

Elina Svitolina was left to rue "poor decisions" in her first grand slam semi-final but admitted the "unbelievable" Simona Halep was too good for her at Wimbledon.

Halep cruised to a 6-1 6-3 victory on Centre Court, becoming the first Romanian woman to reach the singles final at the All England Club.

WTA Finals champion Svitolina never really got going, with Halep much more aggressive as she set up a showdown with Serena Williams on Saturday.

Eighth seed Svitolina praised the 2018 French Open winner and was left to reflect on what might have been at SW19 on Thursday.

"I was nervous, but I think it was the same as in some other big matches," said the Ukrainian.

"I haven't played as many [big games] as she has because she won a grand slam, so she knows how it feels to achieve something major in your career.

"I don't know if it's a lack of experience a little bit today, but I think she played unbelievably. She was moving really good, striking the ball perfectly.

"It's a little bit of me making poor decisions in some important moments, and then her playing unbelievable which made the score like that."

Serena Williams powered through to an 11th Wimbledon final and to the brink of history as she swept aside Barbora Strycova on Centre Court.

The American, at the age of 37, handed a thumping 6-1 6-2 lesson to Czech Strycova, whose first singles semi-final at a grand slam proved distinctly one-sided.

Victory for Williams sets up a shot at a record-equalling 24th grand slam title, with Romanian Simona Halep the player standing in her way of matching Australian Margaret Court's all-time tally in Saturday's final.

Williams, hunting an eighth Wimbledon crown, said: "It definitely feels good to be back in the final."

Strycova was making her own history, at 33 becoming the oldest first-time women's singles semi-finalist in an open era grand slam.

But her pre-match mention of having nothing to fear invited the suspicion that she thought it was a different Serena Williams on the other side of the net; not the women who had beaten her in three previous grand slam matches without dropping a set.

And rather than having nothing to lose, as Strycova ventured, this was unquestionably the greatest opportunity of her career.

Privately, she would surely have acknowledged that, and perhaps feared her crafty game would be picked apart.

Talking about combating Williams, and turning an all-to-gain mentality into points on the board, has always been different to the harsh reality.

And after finding her feel for the contest, Williams broke in the fourth game, creaming a crosscourt forehand past Strycova at the net.

Williams then held serve to love in a flash, helped by a pair of aces, broke again after setting up the chance with a fizzing backhand down the line, and took the opening set with a perfect drop volley followed by an ace out wide.

Breaks in the fifth and seventh games of the second set confirmed the gulf between this unlikely semi-final pairing, with Williams sealing victory when Strycova could only poke a serve back over the net and watch it returned with interest into an empty court.

Williams won her 23rd grand slam title in Australia two and a half years ago, since when she has married and become a mother.

The wait for the 24th slam has included defeats in the Wimbledon and US Open finals last year, and now Halep awaits her in another All England Club final.

It has a similar feel to last year's title match, when German left-hander Angelique Kerber was written off by many yet beat Williams with some comfort.

Halep brushed aside Elina Svitolina 6-1 6-3 earlier in the day, and Williams said: "She's tough. She played unbelievable today. We've played on grass before and we've always had good matches. I look forward to it."


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN

Serena Williams [11] bt Barbora Strycova 6-1 6-2

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Williams – 27/10
Strycova – 8/10

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Williams – 4/1
Strycova – 1/1

BREAK POINTS WON

Williams – 4/5
Strycova – 0/3

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE

Williams - 60
Strycova - 61

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE

Williams – 88/53
Strycova – 52/44

TOTAL POINTS

Williams - 53
Strycova - 31

Simona Halep produced a relentless display to beat Elina Svitolina in straight sets and become the first Romanian woman to reach a Wimbledon singles final.

Halep was outstanding in her second semi-final at the All England Club, cruising to a 6-1 6-3 victory in only an hour and 13 minutes on a warm Thursday.

WTA Finals champion Svitolina - playing her first major semi-final - was unable to live with the more aggressive seventh seed, who struck 26 winners and served magnificently to stand one win away from a second grand slam title.

The 2018 French Open champion, who said she had finally fallen in love with grass at SW19, will take on Serena Williams or Barbora Strycova in the final on Saturday.

Halep unleashed winners off both wings to save break points in the opening game and took a 2-0 lead courtesy of an unforced error from a nervy Svitolina.

The eighth seed responded with a break to love, but her serve was not firing and she was long with another groundstroke to give Halep the initiative once again.

Halep dictated the baseline rallies and mixed it up with deft drops shots, making a tentative Svitolina scurry frantically and putting away a majestic forehand winner to lead 5-1.

The former world number one needed six set points to wrap it up and Svitolina showed more belief in the second, which started with her first hold of the match.

Svitolina's serve was packing a punch, but the focused Halep earned a roar from the crowd when she showed great touch with a delicate cross-court forehand after charging to the net.

A stray forehand from Svitolina gave Halep the break for a 4-3 lead and the world number seven lost just one point on serve before breaking again to break new ground at the grass-court major.

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