Though it seemed as if Serena Williams was about to cruise to a historic win at Wimbledon, Simona Halep defeated the ‘Greatest Of All Time’ in a shocking upset!
Serena Williams, 37, just suffered the worst case of déjà vu. After losing the 2018 Wimbledon final to Angelique Kerber, 31, the woman many consider to be the greatest tennis player in history walked into the July 13 final with Simona Halep, 27, confident that she’d finally tie Margaret Court’s record for most Grand Slam singles titles. Sadly, that was not the case. Though Serena steamrolled her way through the semi-finals, she fell to a woman she had beaten nine times before, losing to Simona 6-2, 6-2.
Losing any tournament final is painful, but for Serena, this upset has to sting extra hard. Currently, she has 23 career Grand Slam singles titles – winning the Australian Open seven times, the French open the times, Wimbledon seven times and the U.S. Open five times. The only woman standing between Serena and the top spot is Margaret Court, 76, who, with 24 single titles, remains the winningest individual player in Grand Slam history. Serena hasn’t won a Grand Slam/major title since the 2017 Australian Open. She made it to the final of Wimbledon in 2018 but lost to Angelique Kerber. She made her way to the climax of the 2018 U.S. Open but lost to Naomi Osaka in a match that’s known more for Serena’s clashes with the umpire than anything.
Serena Williams’s march towards the Wimbledon final has seen some rocky moments. She defeated Giulia Gatto-Monticone in two sets in the first round but had to play to 7 games in the second set to do it. She lost the first set to Kaja Juvan in the second round but rebounded afterward. She easily dispatched Julia Gorges and Carla Suarez Navarro in the third round and Round of 16. Fellow American Alison Riske gave Serena some trouble in the quarter-final, pushing the G.O.A.T to three sets. However, Serena looked like her indomitable self in the semis, demolishing Barbora Strycova, 6-1, 6-2. Many thought Serena would defeat Simona in a similar fashion since Williams had a 9-1 career record over her rival.
However, as the final score shows, Simona proved why she was once ranked No. 1 in the world. Over the past two years, she has improved her performances on all surfaces, since the Washington Post reports that she once lacked the belief that she could ever feel comfortable in competing on Wimbledon’s grass. “I overcomplicated everything in my head,” she said. “I was thinking too much. … Sometimes I had too many options how to play and I didn’t pick the right one in the right moment. … I’m not scared anymore of how the ball bounces. I think I have the feeling. And also I feel stable on the legs, which is very important on the grass.”