Taylor Townsend pulled off the biggest shock of the US Open as she came from a set down to stun fourth seed Simona Halep in the second round.

Wimbledon champion Halep was expected to have few problems against the qualifier and world number 116, but was on the end of a remarkable comeback as Townsend prevailed 2-6 6-3 7-6 (7-4) on Thursday.

Halep took the first set in dominant fashion, but Townsend found inspiration in the second set and brought the Arthur Ashe crowd to life in New York.

The former girls number one demonstrated outstanding reflexes at the net and took the contest to Halep as she set up a decider.

Townsend has to this point been unable to deliver on the potential she displayed as a junior, but she continued on the attack and punished the Halep second serve, breaking to love in game five.

Having only once previously reached the third round of a grand slam, any nerves on Townsend's part would have been understandable.

They promptly showed up as she let three match points go begging when serving for the match as Halep found her best tennis in the closing moments.

However, Halep wasted a match point of her own, setting up a frenetic tie-break that was settled when the Romanian fired into the net to an eruption from the home crowd as an emotional Townsend raised her arms and celebrated the biggest win of her career.

 

US Open champion Naomi Osaka was forced to dig deep in her first-round match, while former winner Sloane Stephens was a surprise casualty in New York.

Returning to the scene of her maiden grand slam title, world number one Osaka outlasted Anna Blinkova in three sets on Tuesday.

Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, former world number one Caroline Wozniacki and 15-year-old sensation Coco Gauff also reached round two, but Stephens headlined the exits.

 

OSAKA OVERCOMES NERVES IN NEW YORK OPENER

Top seed Osaka edged unseeded opponent Blinkova 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 in an unconvincing display at Flushing Meadows.

Osaka was not at her best, tallying 50 unforced errors, but the two-time grand slam champion still managed to book a second-round date with Magda Linette.

"I don't think I've ever been so nervous in my life," Osaka said during her on-court interview. "I don't think I ever really found my rhythm, but I just fought as hard as I can."

 

HALEP HANDLES LUCKY LOSER

Romanian star and fourth seed Halep prevailed 6-3 3-6 6-2 against lucky loser Nicole Gibbs.

Halep produced when it mattered most as she avoided becoming only the second player in the Open Era to follow up victory at Wimbledon with a first-round loss in New York.

Next up for Halep is qualifier Taylor Townsend, who rallied past Kateryna Kozlova 3-6 6-3 6-2.

Wozniacki, meanwhile, came from a set down to see off Wang Yafan 1-6 7-5 6-3 in an opening-round scare.

Runner-up in 2009 and 2014, 19th seed Wozniacki meets Danielle Collins in the second round after the 2019 Australian Open semi-finalist defeated Polona Hercog 6-3 4-6 6-4.

 

GAUFF'S STAR CONTINUES TO SHINE

The fairytale story of Wimbledon, Gauff fought past fellow teenager Anastasia Potapova 3-6 6-2 6-4.

Gauff rose to stardom at Wimbledon earlier this year, making the fourth round at the All England Club.

The American sensation emerged triumphant in her main-draw debut at her home major on Tuesday thanks to seven breaks of serve.

"It was crazy," said Gauff, who will play qualifier Timea Babos after 28th seed Carla Suarez Navarro retired at the end of the first set. "Obviously I was nervous going out on the court. It's such a big court. Then my home slam, so I wanted to do well. The crowd really helped me the whole match. Like, it was really a great atmosphere to play in and a great experience for me."

 

KALINSKAYA SLAYS SLOANE

There was a major upset in New York, where 2017 champion Stephens was sensationally eliminated 6-3 6-4 by qualifier Anna Kalinskaya.

Stephens hoped to enjoy another deep run at Flushing Meadows after reuniting with long-time coach Kamau Murray but Kalinskaya had other plans for the 11th seed.

Two-time grand slam winner and 24th seed Garbine Muguruza also fell at the first hurdle, knocked out 2-6 6-1 6-3 by Alison Riske.

Svetlana Kuznetsova – the 2004 champion – went down 7-5 6-2 to Kristie Ahn, while two-time finalist and former world number one Victoria Azarenka lost 3-6 6-3 6-4 to ninth seed Aryna Sabalenka.

Darren Cahill says Simona Halep can take her game to another level and has backed the two-time grand slam champion to mount a strong challenge for a maiden US Open title.

Halep doubled her tally of major triumphs by demolishing Serena Williams with an imperious performance to win Wimbledon for the first time last month.

The 2018 French Open champion has suffered first-round defeats at Flushing Meadows in each of the past two years but is among the leading contenders to win the final grand slam of the year.

Cahill, the world number four's former coach who still spends time working with the amiable Romanian, says there is more to come from Halep.

"I think Simona can get better, absolutely, and she has a great chance at Flushing Meadows," Cahill, who will work as a commentator for ESPN at the US Open, told Omnisport.

"She's only 27 and, as we've seen over this generation in both the men's and the women's game, a lot of the players are playing their very best tennis in their early 30s, so age is not really a problem for her.

"She's been one of the most hungry tennis players I've ever met, which is part of the reason I decided to work with her when she asked four years ago.

"I could see in her eyes that desire to be as good as she could possibly be and her work ethic is second to none. She dedicates herself 100 per cent to her tennis, that comes before everything else, and that's part of the reason she's been as successful as she has.

"Winning a couple of majors has been great for her, but I think she still views every single tournament exactly as she has done before. She'll take the approach that, 'I'm here, I'm ready and if I play my best tennis, I've got a great chance of winning'."

Cahill believes last year's runner-up Williams is a worthy favourite but thinks up to 20 players are capable of being crowned US Open champion.

"Simona is coming in refreshed, relaxed about the year she's had after winning Wimbledon and she's confident." he added.

"I think it's wide open. The bookies have Serena as the favourite, but then she has an incredibly difficult draw against [Maria] Sharapova in the first round - even though she has a great record against Maria.

"Maria is always the type of player who will rise to the occasion, so it will be a difficult one.

"If Serena plays her best I'm confident she would win that and then she has to go into any major as a slight favourite with the record that she has.

"Beyond that there are 15-20 players who you would not be surprised if they win it - such is the depth of the game on the women's side and the professionalism has improved out of sight over the last 10 years."

Madison Keys ended Simona Halep's chances of reaching another Western & Southern Open final, while Naomi Osaka and Ashleigh Barty battled through.

A three-time runner-up in Cincinnati, Halep was edged by Keys at the WTA Premier event on Thursday.

The Romanian became the first top-four seed to fall, with Barty, Osaka and Karolina Pliskova booking their spots in the quarter-finals.

 

KEYS EDGES HALEP IN THRILLER

Keys, the American 16th seed, served 10 aces on her way to a 6-1 3-6 7-5 victory over fourth seed Halep in the third round.

Halep came from 3-0 down in the final set and saved a match point in the 10th game, but Keys broke again to claim her win.

Having lost finals in Cincinnati in 2015, 2017 and 2018, Halep fell short of reaching another decider.

Keys will face Venus Williams after the American veteran beat Donna Vekic 2-6 6-3 6-3.

 

BARTY, OSAKA MOVE THROUGH

Barty was pushed before getting past Anett Kontaveit 4-6 7-5 7-5 in two hours, 10 minutes.

The Australian found herself 5-3 down in the final set before winning four straight games to advance.

Barty will meet Maria Sakkari, who upset Belarusian ninth seed Aryna Sabalenka 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-4.

Osaka was also forced to three sets by Hsieh Su-wei before claiming a 7-6 (7-3) 5-7 6-2 victory.

Awaiting the Japanese star in the last eight is Sofia Kenin, who beat Elina Svitolina for the second time in as many tournaments with a 6-3 7-6 (7-3) victory.

 

PLISKOVA, KUZNETSOVA PROGRESS

Pliskova, the 2016 champion, is yet to drop a set and was too good for qualifier Rebecca Peterson 7-5 6-4.

The Czech will meet Svetlana Kuznetsova after the 34-year-old wildcard crushed Sloane Stephens 6-1 6-2.

Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep battled into the last 16 at the Western & Southern Open, while Ashleigh Barty crushed Maria Sharapova.

Osaka is back at world number one and the Japanese star moved through her second-round match at the WTA Premier event in Cincinnati on Wednesday.

Like Osaka, Halep – a three-time runner-up – was tested, while Barty needed less than 90 minutes to thrash Sharapova.

 

OSAKA, HALEP PUSHED TO THREE

Osaka needed more than two hours to overcome Aliaksandra Sasnovich 7-6 (7-3) 2-6 6-2 in the second round.

She had won her previous three meetings with the Belarusian in straight sets, but was pushed at the hard-court tournament.

Osaka will next face Hsieh Su-wei, who got past qualifier Jennifer Brady 7-6 (11-9) 6-3.

Halep, a finalist at the event in 2015, 2017 and 2018, came from a set and a break down to beat Ekaterina Alexandrova 3-6 7-5 6-4.

The Romanian will meet Madison Keys, who eased past Daria Kasatkina 6-4 6-1.

 

BARTY BRUSHES PAST SHARAPOVA

A surprise last-32 loser at the Rogers Cup, Barty dominated Sharapova in a 6-4 6-1 victory.

The Australian broke serve four times during her 40th win of the season while continuing Sharapova's rough 2019.

Sharapova, a five-time grand slam champion, holds just an 8-6 win-loss record in 2019.

Barty will meet Anett Kontaveit, who was too good for Polish teenager Iga Swiatek 6-4 7-6 (7-2).

 

PLISKOVA, SVITOLINA THROUGH ON GOOD DAY FOR SEEDS

Champion in 2016, Karolina Pliskova was untroubled by Wang Yafan, winning 6-1 6-3.

Meanwhile, Aryna Sabalenka, the ninth seed, cruised past Zheng Saisai 6-4 6-3.

Elina Svitolina will face Sofia Kenin after their 6-4 6-1 wins over Elise Mertens and Zarina Diyas respectively, while Sloane Stephens and Donna Vekic – who beat Victoria Azarenka – progressed along with Svetlana Kuznetsova and Rebecca Peterson.

Serena Williams is the last seed standing at the Rogers Cup as defending champion Simona Halep made a quarter-final exit on Friday.

Williams was in impressive form as she powered past Naomi Osaka in their first meeting since last year's controversial US Open final.

The American great is the only seed into the last four, with Halep's title defence coming to an end at the WTA Premier tournament.

 

WILLIAMS WONDERFUL AGAINST OSAKA

Williams has apologised for her meltdown at Flushing Meadows last year and the 23-time grand slam champion produced a brilliant display against Osaka.

Osaka had won her previous two matches against Williams in straight sets, but the 37-year-old secured a 6-3 6-4 victory over the Japanese star on Friday.

Williams may have been expecting to face Halep in a rematch of their Wimbledon final, but the Romanian bowed out against Marie Bouzkova.

The Czech qualifier continued her run, winning the first set 6-4 when Halep retired injured.

PLISKOVA, SVITOLINA STUNNED

Karolina Pliskova also exited in the quarter-finals, suffering a 6-0 2-6 6-4 loss to Canadian Bianca Andreescu.

That result meant Osaka, who later lost to Williams, will replace Ashleigh Barty atop the world rankings.

Andreescu will face Sofia Kenin after the American upset Ukrainian sixth seed Elina Svitolina 7-6 (7-2) 6-4.

At 37, Williams is by far the oldest player left in the draw, with the others – Bouzkova (21), Andreescu (19) and Kenin (20) all under 22.

Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka will go head-to-head for the first time since the controversial 2018 US Open decider after the pair reached the Rogers Cup quarter-finals.

Osaka prevailed against childhood hero Williams last year at Flushing Meadows, where the 23-time grand slam champion's epic meltdown contributed to her defeat.

Williams was issued a code violation for what umpire Carlos Ramos deemed to be coaching from Patrick Mouratoglou, irritating the former world number one who insisted she was not a cheat.

A point penalty for racquet abuse led to her branding Ramos a "liar" and a "thief" and she was then docked a game, after which she called for the match referee and alleged she was being treated differently to male players.

Osaka's maiden major was overshadowed by Williams' behaviour. Now, the two players are set for a rematch in Toronto.

 

SERENA SURVIVES ALEXANDROVA TEST

The 37-year-old American star was pushed by Ekaterina Alexandrova in a 7-5 6-4 victory on Thursday.

Williams trailed the Russian qualifier 3-0 in the first and 3-1 in the second, however, the eighth seed produced when it mattered most to advance at the WTA Premier event.

A three-time champion, Williams – playing for the first time since Wimbledon – said: "I definitely feel like it takes a while to get back into the rhythm, because we've had a long season of just clay and then grass, and now we're on hard courts. So it definitely feels different, especially for me now. Usually I don't feel that huge of a difference, but for whatever reason I do this year."

 

OSAKA ON TRACK TO RECLAIM TOP RANKING

Australian Open champion and second seed Osaka overcame teenager Iga Swiatek 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in the last 16.

Osaka rallied from a break and two set points down to eventually prevail against the Polish 18-year-old.

The Japanese star is on track to return to the WTA's summit on Monday ahead of Karolina Pliskova, who must beat Bianca Andreescu to have any chance of claiming the top ranking.

Pliskova accounted for Anett Kontaveit 6-3 7-5, while Andreescu outlasted Kiki Bertens 6-1 6-7 (7-9) 6-4.

 

HALEP'S TITLE DEFENCE ALIVE

Defending champion Simona Halep eased past Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2 6-1 in just 67 minutes.

Halep – the fourth seed – was a class above as she reached the Rogers Cup quarters for the fifth time.

Next up for Halep is qualifier Marie Bouzkova, who stunned former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-2 6-2.

Sixth seed Elina Svitolina and Sofia Kenin also moved through to the last eight.

Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka eased into the last 16 at the Rogers Cup, while Simona Halep survived a scare on Wednesday.

Williams, a three-time champion at the WTA Premier event, was in good form in her first appearance since Wimbledon, beating Elise Mertens in the second round.

Osaka moved a step closer to reclaiming the number one ranking, while Halep edged through.

 

SUPER SERENA, OSAKA CLOSE TO TOP

Williams, the eighth seed, came from a break down in each set to get past Mertens 6-3 6-3.

The American 23-time grand slam champion was in decent form against Mertens, who troubled Williams at different times.

Meanwhile, Ashleigh Barty will lose the top ranking after Osaka booked her spot in the third round.

Osaka took the first set over Tatjana Maria 6-2 before the German qualifier retired.

It means the Japanese star or Karolina Pliskova will replace Barty, who lost on Tuesday, atop the world rankings.

HALEP SURVIVES SCARE

Halep, the defending champion, moved through but only just, edging Jennifer Brady.

The Romanian fourth seed and Wimbledon champion overcame the qualifier 4-6 7-5 7-6 (7-5) after almost two and a half hours.

It was a good day for the seeds – Pliskova and Elina Svitolina advancing with the likes of Belinda Bencic and Anett Kontaveit.

Pliskova's bid to return to the top of the rankings is alive after a 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 victory over qualifier Alison Riske.

Svitolina, meanwhile, battled past Katerina Siniakova 6-3 3-6 6-3.

 

WOE FOR WOZNIACKI

The only seed to depart was Wozniacki, who fell to 18-year-old qualifier Iga Swiatek 1-6 6-3 6-4.

Wozniacki, the 2010 champion and 2017 runner-up, led 3-0 in the final set before losing six of the final seven games to the Polish teenager.

Former world number one Maria Sharapova lost a three-set epic against Anett Kontaveit in the first round of the WTA Rogers Cup.

Sharapova – a five-time grand slam champion – was eliminated following a two hour, 41-minute thriller in Toronto on Monday.

Former Australian Open winner Caroline Wozniacki moved through to the second round, while Serena Williams will open her campaign against Elise Mertens.

 

SHARAPOVA STUNNED IN TORONTO

The 2009 runner-up saw victory slip through her grasp, beaten 4-6 6-3 6-4 by Kontaveit.

Sharapova was up a set a break before 16th seed Kontaveit prevailed in a tense three-setter, which lasted almost three hours.

Playing for the first time since retiring from her first-round match at Wimbledon, Sharapova – seeking just her fourth victory since January due to injury problems – was unable to stop the Estonian.

"I put a lot of work in to get to this stage, so I think to finish off this match is good," Sharapova said. "Definitely not the result I would have liked, but overall feeling pretty good about it."

It will not get any easier for Kontaveit, who is set to play the winner of Venus Williams and Carla Suarez Navarro.

 

WOZNIACKI MAKES WINNING START

Former champion Wozniacki accounted for Yulia Putintseva 6-4 6-2 on day one.

The 2010 winner in Montreal, Wozniacki trailed 4-2 after dropping serve in the opening game before reeling off four straight games to take out the set.

Wozniacki then won four games in a row from 2-2 in the second set as the 15th seed awaits either Iga Swiatek or Ajla Tomljanovic in the next round.

"I'm just happy with the win today and that I'm through to the next round," said Wozniacki, who was also runner-up in 2017.

 

MERTENS SETS UP SERENA SHOWDOWN

Williams awaits in the second round after Belgian Mertens outlasted Aliaksandra Sasnovich 3-6 6-3 6-1.

Former world number one and eighth seed Williams is a three-time winner of the event, having last triumphed in 2013.

Sofia Kenin set up a clash with world number one and top seed Ashleigh Barty with a 6-4 6-3 win over Hsieh Su-wei, while defending champion Simona Halep is next up for Jennifer Brady – who saw off Kristina Mladenovic 6-1 6-2.

Former French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko triumphed but three-time major champion Angelique Kerber – the 12th seed – was shocked by Daria Kasatkina 0-6 6-2 6-4.

Tim Henman believes Serena Williams will bounce back from her Wimbledon final defeat to Simona Halep and be in the running for a 24th grand slam title at the US Open.

Williams could offer little resistance to an inspired Halep in the Wimbledon showdown, succumbing to a 6-2 6-2 defeat to the Romanian.

The world number nine was also a beaten finalist at Wimbledon in 2018, before going on to finish as runner up in last year's US Open.

And Henman has no doubt Williams will recover from her defeat to Halep and make it to the latter stages in New York this time around, as she hunts a title which would equal Margaret Court's record haul of 24.

"She's been in three slam finals in the last year so she's still playing at a very high level," Henman told Omnisport.

"It's just a question mark of whether she can equal it and overtake Margaret Court. [The] US Open is not far away and I'm sure she'll be in the mix in New York."

"I was [surprised]," former British number one Henman said when asked about Halep's dominant display against Williams on Centre Court.

"I think when you look at their head to head, they played 10 times and it was 9-1 for Serena coming into that match.

"[Halep] was a huge underdog but the reality of chasing Margaret Court has affected Serena. She didn't play her best tennis and Halep played amazingly well to dominate and win 6-2 6-2."

Halep's win represented her second grand slam triumph, after the 2018 French Open, and Henman has backed the former world number one to step up her level once more now she has another major title to her name.

"She won a slam, she won the French Open before, been number one in the world, she's a great player," Henman said.

"To get that second slam under her belt, I think there's a possibility she could kick on from that."

 

- Tim Henman was talking on behalf of The Open patron HSBC. HSBC are once again offering free golf to children and their friends via the HSBC Hour which are taking place at over 500 clubs in the UK and Ireland. For more information, please visit: https://www.theopen.com/patrons/hsbc

Simona Halep could make Wimbledon a home from home after vowing to treasure the membership that came her way for landing the women's singles title.

On her ninth visit to the championships, Halep chalked off a life's ambition when she lifted the Venus Rosewater Dish on Saturday.

The 27-year-old beat Serena Williams 6-2 6-2 inside an hour and endeared herself to millions watching worldwide, not only with her tennis but with the unfettered joy she displayed afterwards.

She had spoken in the locker room earlier in the fortnight about what membership would mean and said: "It was one of my motivations before this tournament so now I'm happy."

And Halep wasted no time in taking advantage of her status, being pictured on Sunday smiling broadly with a purple membership badge pinned to her red dress after being awarded it by club chairman Philip Brook.

She is relishing the prospect of coming back to Wimbledon in a quiet week outside the championships, when there will be no pressure on her shoulders and the luxurious All England Club facilities to enjoy.

"Yes. Without pressure, without thinking I have a match tomorrow," Romanian Halep said.

"I met Philip. He told me, 'Any time you want, you can come, have dinner, have lunch, play a little bit tennis'. I will come for sure."

Her compatriot Nadia Comaneci, who as a 14-year-old became the first gymnast to achieve a perfect 10.0 score at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, was quick to offer praise.

She wrote on Twitter: "What a final. Felicitari @Simona_Halep best match ever"

Romania's president, Klaus Iohannis, called it a "spectacular win", while six-time Wimbledon champion Billie Jean King described Halep's success as "one of the most perfectly executed matches I’ve ever seen".

Simona Halep said seeing royalty in the crowd gave her an "extra boost" as she claimed a first Wimbledon title, while Mark Philippoussis was drinking on the job at SW19 on Saturday.

Halep thrashed Serena Williams 6-2 6-2 in less than an hour on Centre Court and was given a royal seal of approval following her majestic performance.

Philippoussis, a two-time major runner-up, was in weekend mode as he sampled an alcoholic beverage while playing in the invitational doubles.

Dylan Alcott was trending on Twitter in Australia after his historic victory at the All England Club.

Catch up on what was happening on the penultimate day of the grass-court grand slam.

 

HALEP GIVEN 'UNFORGETTABLE' ROYAL BOOST 

Halep picked out "Kate" as the one person she would like to see in the Royal Box for her first Wimbledon final.

The 2018 French Open champion got her wish and exchanged words with the Duchess of Cambridge after denying Williams a record-equalling 24th major singles title. 

"It was an honour to play in front of her. I had the chance to meet her after the match. She's very kind, very nice," Halep said after becoming the first Romanian to win a singles title at Wimbledon, with Williams' friend the Duchess of Sussex also in attendance.

"Yeah, it was an extra boost when I saw all of them there, the Royal Family. Winning in this position, it's really nice. It's unforgettable."

 

PIMM'S O'CLOCK FOR PHILIPPOUSSIS

Philippoussis built up a thirst as he rolled back the years on No.1 Court.

The Australian unsuccessfully scurried across to try and keep a point alive in his doubles clash partnering Tommy Haas against Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra.

Philippoussis almost ended up on the front row of the crowd, but stopped himself before grabbing a spectator's Pimm's for an early-evening tipple.

He even posed for a selfie after sipping away casually with his legs crossed, drawing laughter from the crowd in an alternative happy hour.

 

ALCOTT MAKES HISTORY TO COMPLETE 'DYLAN SLAM'

Alcott won the first ever quad wheelchair singles title at SW19 with a 6-0 6-2 thrashing of Brit Andy Lapthorne.

Australian Alcott now holds ever major singles title, a feat christened the 'Dylan Slam' and the top seed was delighted after his triumph on Court 12.

"I'm trending on Twitter at home," he said.

"The AFL is on at the moment, and the NRL. I'm trending with them. People care and watch now. I love that, you know what I mean? So cool."

He added: "My dad said, 'Congratulations on your eighth Grand Slam.' I said, 'That's nine, champion.'"

 

BUBBLES BURST AFTER COSTLY UNFORCED ERROR 

There were no smiles outside a champagne bar when a lady knocked a bottle over earlier in the afternoon.

While not all of the bubbles were lost, it still proved to be a costly unforced error.

Thankfully the bottle did not smash, but the spillage created a racket as the women frantically attempted to limit her losses.

Simona Halep was able to lean on encouragement from Roger Federer as she hammered Serena Williams to claim her first Wimbledon title on Saturday.

The Romanian thrashed the seven-time champion 6-2 6-2 in under an hour on Centre Court, picking up a second major crown to go with her French Open win at Roland Garros last year.

Halep was simply unstoppable, committing only three unforced errors – a record for a ladies' singles final – as 23-time grand slam champion Williams had no answer to her combination of energy and accuracy.

The day before the women's final, eight-time Wimbledon winner and Halep's idol Federer overcame Rafael Nadal in his semi-final, before offering his support to the world number seven, saying she should "back herself" and show a "winner mentality".

"I read what he said. I thank him. He is very nice," a smiling Halep told a news conference.

"His words made me happy. Also, I really believe that there is a chance if I listen to him. Because if you listen to him, you get the good things. So I did that."

The Duchess of Cambridge was in attendance in the Royal Box and afterwards spoke with Halep, who was thrilled with the introduction.

"It was an honour to play in front of her. I had the chance to meet her after the match. She's very kind, very nice," Halep added. "It was an extra boost when I saw all of them there, the Royal family. Winning in this position, it's really nice. It's unforgettable."

And Halep, brought up on clay courts in her home country, conceded she doubted if major success on grass would ever come her way.

"I never thought. I'm very honest. I never thought that I'm able to win on grass with all these players that are very tall and serving with a lot of power," she said.

"But this year, as I said every day, I started to feel the game more and more. I started to feel safe on court, which helped me a lot to believe.

"The French Open is better known because another two players [Ilie Nastase and Virginia Ruzici] won it from Romania. It's clay. We grow up on clay. We are more familiar to Roland Garros.

"But Wimbledon, I think it's very special for every country. Here the tennis was born, let's say. It's all the rules, a very prestigious tournament, makes it a little bit different and more special.

"Thinking that it is a possibility to win on grass, it was tough to believe because we don't even have a grass court in Romania.

"But I knew if we are patient and if we work hard, we get the feeling of the grass court. So I did this year and I did it pretty well."

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."

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