Halep happy to shrug off Serena fear factor for Wimbledon glory

By Sports Desk July 13, 2019

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."

Related items

  • Muchova defeats Linette to clinch first WTA title at Korea Open Muchova defeats Linette to clinch first WTA title at Korea Open

    Karolina Muchova took just over an hour to beat Magda Linette in a rain-delayed Korea Open final, claiming her first WTA title in the process.

    The pair had to wait six hours to take to the court, but Muchova wasted little time in dispatching Bronx Open winner Linette 6-1 6-1 in Seoul.

    It was only the second meeting between Muchova and Linette, who had won a two-hour 45-minute encounter 6-7 (7-4) 6-4 7-6 (7-3) en route to her success in New York.

    Wimbledon quarter-finalist Muchova has enjoyed a career-best season and was in no mood to give up on a chance to win her maiden title.

    Muchova started as she meant to go on, breaking serve twice in the first three games to take a 5-1 lead before wrapping up a 32-minute first set with another break.

    Set two followed a similar trend, Linette - three below Muchova in the WTA rankings - conceding her first service game.

    Muchova took full advantage, breaking again in the sixth game and going on to serve out the victory with two match points to spare.

  • I'm not coming back! - Li Na not planning to follow Clijsters I'm not coming back! - Li Na not planning to follow Clijsters

    Li Na does not appear open to the idea of a return to the WTA Tour after amusingly shutting down a question about Kim Clijsters at the Wuhan Open.

    Clijsters announced plans for a stunning comeback this month, aiming to play on the Tour in 2020 having retired after the 2012 US Open.

    The Belgian is 36 years old but Li, one year her senior, does not intend to follow suit.

    Appearing at the Wuhan Open to celebrate her induction into the Tennis Hall of Fame, Li interrupted one question after just two words: "Kim Clijsters..."

    "I'm not coming back," the two-time major champion interjected to some amusement.

    "I wish her the best. But as for me, I'm telling you for sure, 100 per cent, I'm staying home."

    Li said of her Hall of Fame induction: "My name is placed alongside so many legends. That is something, the best achievement in my tennis career.

    "Being able to do this is everything to me. Such sense of excitement is no less than achieving the grand slam title."

  • Nadal misses Laver Cup doubles with Federer due to 'inflamed hand' Nadal misses Laver Cup doubles with Federer due to 'inflamed hand'

    Rafael Nadal was forced to pull out of his singles and doubles matches on day three of the Laver Cup with an "inflamed hand".

    The French Open and US Open champion had been set to feature in a high-profile doubles pairing with Roger Federer against John Isner and Jack Sock in the opening match of Sunday's play.

    Nadal was also set to take on Nick Kyrgios in singles later in the day, having been beaten by the Australian in a doubles contest late on Saturday.

    But that match the previous day, in which Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas lost to Kyrgios and Sock, meant the Spaniard was not able to recover in time.

    He complained of inflammation to his left hand on Sunday morning - an issue he says he has dealt with for "a couple of years" - and Tsitsipas was called in to take his place alongside Federer.

    Thiem will play Kyrgios, meanwhile, with Team Europe aiming to wrap up a third straight title, carrying a narrow 7-5 lead into the final day.

    Nadal said: "I am sad, of course. I was excited to play the doubles with Roger obviously - that's the thing that makes me more sad because, in singles, I know Dominic is going to be there and he's going to do unbelievably.

    "Since a couple of years ago, I've had this bad feeling on the hand. It's an inflamation of the hand - not the wrist.

    "Yesterday, I played and sometimes the next day you are a little bit better, sometimes you are a little bit worse. Today, I think it's a little bit more inflamed.

    "This morning, I woke up with that feeling that something is inflamed on the hand and I texted Roger and Thomas [Enqvist, vice-captain] and Bjorn [Borg, captain].

    "We needed to find a solution because I don't think I'm the right one to play today and we have a great team without me being 100 per cent. All the guys are unbelievable."

    He added: "Now, let's support and hopefully we can achieve this."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.