Halep routs Williams to win Women’s Singles Championship at Wimbledon

July 13, 2019

Romania's Simona Halep kisses the trophy after defeating United States' Serena Williams during the women's singles final match on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Simona Halep defeated Serena Williams in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2, to win the Women’s Singles Championship at Wimbledon.

Halep, the seven seed, is celebrating her second Grand Slam title after winning the 2018 French Open.

This is the third consecutive Grand Slam final lost by Williams as she tries to equal Margaret Court with 24 major trophies, the highest total in tennis history. Williams was the runner-up to Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon a year ago, and to Naomi Osaka at the U.S. Open last September.

Romania's Simona Halep returns the ball to United States' Serena Williams during the women's singles final match on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Romania’s Simona Halep returns the ball to United States’ Serena Williams during the women’s singles final match on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019. (AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
United States' Serena Williams returns to Czech Republic's Barbora Strycova in a Women's semifinal singles match on day ten of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Thursday, July 11, 2019.
United States' Serena Williams returns to Czech Republic's Barbora Strycova in a Women's semifinal singles match on day ten of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Thursday, July 11, 2019.(AP/Ben Curtis)
Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Pippa Matthews, from left, sit in the Royal Box on Centre Court to watch the women's singles final match between Serena Williams of the United States and Romania's Simona Halep on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Pippa Matthews, from left, sit in the Royal Box on Centre Court to watch the women's singles final match between Serena Williams of the United States and Romania's Simona Halep on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)(AP/Ben Curtis)
United States' Serena Williams returns the ball to Romania's Simona Halep, background, during the women's singles final match on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019.
United States' Serena Williams returns the ball to Romania's Simona Halep, background, during the women's singles final match on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019.(AP/Tim Ireland)
United States' Serena Williams wipes her face during the women's singles final match against Romania's Simona Halep on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
United States' Serena Williams wipes her face during the women's singles final match against Romania's Simona Halep on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)(AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Romania's Simona Halep plays a shot to United States' Serena Williams during the women's singles final match on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
Romania's Simona Halep plays a shot to United States' Serena Williams during the women's singles final match on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)(AP/Tim Ireland)
Romania's Simona Halep celebrates after defeating United States' Serena Williams during the women's singles final match on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Romania's Simona Halep celebrates after defeating United States' Serena Williams during the women's singles final match on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)(AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
United States' Serena Williams is dejected after losing a point during the women's singles final match against Romania's Simona Halep on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
United States' Serena Williams is dejected after losing a point during the women's singles final match against Romania's Simona Halep on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)(AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Romania's Simona Halep holds her trophy after defeating United States' Serena Williams in the women's singles final match on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019.
Romania's Simona Halep holds her trophy after defeating United States' Serena Williams in the women's singles final match on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019.(AP/Tim Ireland)
Winner Romania's Simona Halep and second placed United States' Serena Williams, right, pose with their trophies after the women's singles final match on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
Winner Romania's Simona Halep and second placed United States' Serena Williams, right, pose with their trophies after the women's singles final match on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)(AP/Tim Ireland)
Romania's Simona Halep kisses the trophy after defeating United States' Serena Williams during the women's singles final match on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Romania's Simona Halep kisses the trophy after defeating United States' Serena Williams during the women's singles final match on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)(AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
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Romania's Simona Halep returns the ball to United States' Serena Williams during the women's singles final match on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
United States' Serena Williams returns to Czech Republic's Barbora Strycova in a Women's semifinal singles match on day ten of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Thursday, July 11, 2019.
Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Pippa Matthews, from left, sit in the Royal Box on Centre Court to watch the women's singles final match between Serena Williams of the United States and Romania's Simona Halep on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
United States' Serena Williams returns the ball to Romania's Simona Halep, background, during the women's singles final match on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019.
United States' Serena Williams wipes her face during the women's singles final match against Romania's Simona Halep on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Romania's Simona Halep plays a shot to United States' Serena Williams during the women's singles final match on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
Romania's Simona Halep celebrates after defeating United States' Serena Williams during the women's singles final match on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
United States' Serena Williams is dejected after losing a point during the women's singles final match against Romania's Simona Halep on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Romania's Simona Halep holds her trophy after defeating United States' Serena Williams in the women's singles final match on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019.
Winner Romania's Simona Halep and second placed United States' Serena Williams, right, pose with their trophies after the women's singles final match on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
Romania's Simona Halep kisses the trophy after defeating United States' Serena Williams during the women's singles final match on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

The 37-year-old American hasn’t won a tournament since the 2017 Australian Open, when she set the professional-era record of 23 Grand Slam championships (Court won 13 of her titles against amateur competition). Williams was pregnant when she won in Australia and then took more than a year off the tour; her daughter, Olympia, was born in September 2017.

Since returning to tennis, Williams has dealt with injuries but still managed to remain among the game’s elite.

Simona Halep was not focused on trying to prevent Serena Williams from winning a 24th Grand Slam title. All Halep cared about was winning Wimbledon for the first time.

The whole thing took less than an hour.

Halep made a mere three unforced errors, a remarkably low total and 23 fewer than Williams.

Showing off the talents and traits that lifted her to No. 1 in the rankings and four previous Grand Slam finals but only one previous major title, at last year’s French Open, Halep got off to an impossibly perfect start.

She tracked down everything, as is her wont. She didn’t merely play defense, though, managing to go from retrieving an apparent point-ending stroke by Williams to lashing a winner of her own in a blink.

Her returns were exceptional, repeatedly getting back serves that left Williams’ racket at 115 mph or more. That was a key aspect of this matchup, given that Halep came in having won 53% of her opponents’ service games during the fortnight, while Williams had 45 aces.

On this cloudy, cool afternoon, with the temperature in the low 70s (low 20s Celsius), Halep began with a pair of service breaks and even delivered the match’s first ace, at 106 mph, which put her out front after 11 astonishing minutes.

Halep won 14 of the first 18 points. She produced eight winners before a single unforced error, avoiding a miscue until the seventh game.

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