‘Serena Williams lost to a perfect Simona Halep,’ WTA legend recalls

Three years ago, the seven-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams met the 7th seed Simona Halep in the All England Club final. In her last Major final so far, Serena suffered a heavy 6-2, 6-2 loss in 56 minutes against a flawless rival who barely put a foot wrong during the fortnight. Recalling the match, the WTA legend Chris Evert said that Simona played a perfect encounter against the 23-time Major winner. The Romanian did everything right and left Serena far behind after mind-blowing ball striking, movement, anticipation, defense and offense. Simona was a player to beat in those two weeks at the All England Club and lost one set in seven encounters. She toppled the rivals like Victoria Azarenka, Cori Gauff and Elina Svitolina en route to the title clash, where she faced one of the best players ever. Chasing the elusive 24th Major title, Serena had to settle with the runner-up prize in London for the second straight year.

Serena Williams took only four games against Simona Halep in the 2019 final.

She never found the rhythm against the opponent who barely put a foot wrong throughout the clash. Halep had 13 winners and three unforced errors, dropping 12 points behind the initial shot and facing one break point. Serena was miles below that level after hitting 17 winners and 26 mistakes. She failed to penetrate her rival and impose her strokes like in the previous rounds. Williams faced five break points and got broken four times to propel Halep toward her second Major. Serving at 76%, Halep delivered one good hold after another and mounted the pressure on the other side. She outplayed Serena in every segment with intelligent and measured tennis to lift the biggest trophy in her career. Simona had a massive 30-10 advantage in the more advanced rallies, earning her triumph in that area. Serena sprayed a forehand error in the first game to experience an early break and found herself 2-0 down when Simona held at love.

The American gave serve again in game three following the Romanian’s backhand down the line return winner. An ace pushed Halep 4-0 in front before Williams got her name on the scoreboard with a hold at love in game five. Simona fended off the only break chance in game six to open a 5-1 gap and held at 30 in game eight to wrap up the opener with a service winner after 26 minutes. Both players served well in the second set’s opening four games before Serena sprayed a backhand error in game five that sent her 3-2 behind. Simona confirmed the break with a hold at 30 in game six and seized the second break point in the next one after a backhand winner that moved her closer to the finish line. Serving for the title at 5-2, Simona held at love when Serena netted a forehand to celebrate the brightest moment of her career, especially after injuries and setbacks.