Serena Williams and Simona Halep play to stay calm in Wimbledon final

Serena Williams is gunning for Margaret Court's record at Wimbledon. Image Getty

Serena Williams is a win away from securing a record-equalling 24th grand slam singles crown after obliterating Barbora Strycova to reach her 11th Wimbledon final. Having offered up a break point, Strycova crouched at the baseline and rested her racket on her head.

This will be the 11th meeting between Halep and Williams, with the American having won nine of their previous encounters.

Our SI Tennis crew breaks down the final.

Serena Williams, however, refused to join the list of illustrious departures and booked a 12 semifinal at the All England Club with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win over fellow American Alison Riske on Tuesday.

"I definitely feel like I play better when I'm calm", Williams said.

The 37-year-old has appeared relaxed and stress-free throughout the fortnight in which she has elevated her status as the queen of Wimbledon to greater heights amongst British fans by partnering home hero Andy Murray in the mixed doubles.

The crowd were willing Strycova to hang in for a little longer and roared their approval when she showed great defensive skills to win the first point as Williams served for the match - the 54th-ranked Czech raising her arms in salute.

Daniel Rapaport: She has to start well.

But we have to recognize how remarkable this moment in her career is - not only because she's Serena Williams, will be 38 in a couple months and is somehow still breaking records, but also because she nearly didn't survive having a baby. His extended period of failing to compete made his sudden emergence all the more dramatic, but Serena almost died a couple years ago and deserves the same - if not more - unbridled enthusiasm when she wins her next Grand Slam, whenever that may be.


"I'm sure she'll probably call me and talk to me about it", Woods told reporters. It was just a dominant performance. We will see what is going to happen. But this time it's been especially stark.

Reflecting on her major final losses in 2018, she said: "I had to get to those finals". For the last few rounds, she's been indomitable.

It could come down to a factor as obvious as the serve - and Serena, predictably, has a considerable edge here.

Svitolina had never before been to the final four at a major tournament.

For Williams, she has lost four of the last six Grand Slam finals she has reached, including last year's Wimbledon final to Angelique Kerber. Even on Halep's serve, Williams needs to play aggressively and use her superior power to control points.

Now, Mair has broken down Williams vs. Halep from every possible angle and locked in his Wimbledon best bets.

DR: Just play aggressively. Williams, as she admitted on Thursday after her best performance of the tournament - a 59-minute demolition of Barbora Strycova - can not be sure from day to day how she will handle the pressures and expectations of her calling, even though she is by overwhelming consensus the finest player of her era.

This is the challenge that got her back out on to the court after nearly dying giving birth and the one that keeps her motivated at the age of 37.

Serena didn't need to return to the court to solidify herself as the GOAT.

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