Simona Halep won her first Wimbledon title and destroyed Serena Williams’ latest offer for a record – equal to the 24th Grand Slam success with a devastating 56-minute demonstration of sportiness.
The Romanian won 6:2 6:2 in front of a disbelieving Centre Court and ran after everything the American had done to her.
“It was my best match,” said the 27-year-old after her second Grand Slam title after her French Open victory in 2018.
For 37-year-old Williams, it was a third big final defeat in 12 months.
“She played crazy, it was a little stag in the spotlight for me,” she said.
Halep’s not showing any nerves, because the expectation’s weighing on Williams.
Williams seemed to be burdened by public and personal expectations, as she did in last year’s last defeat against Angelique Kerber, as she quickly dropped back 4-0 in the first set.
Halep had said before that she was not putting any pressure on her and that’s exactly how she played.
From the start she looked relaxed and confident, attacked the Williams serve and held the rallies long and deep to drive the American into error.
While Williams closed his eyes at a change to try to regroup, Halep kept her eyes on the price and kept her cool to win her second match point when the American sent a forehand into the net.
Halep’s level never fell in an almost perfect display, making only three unexpected mistakes on Williams’ 26.
“I knew I had to be aggressive, I had to be 100% for every ball and I didn’t have to let her back in because she was so powerful and strong,” Halep said. “She knows how to get along any moment. So I knew I had to stay there, which I did pretty well today.”
Defeat means that Williams has been waiting for a first Grand Slam title since he became a mother, as well as her quest for an eighth Wimbledon singles title.
“I definitely knew she was just pouring out her heart,” said the American. “I felt like, okay, what do I have to do to reach that level?
“When someone turns off the light, there really isn’t much you can do. You just have to understand that today was her day.”
Halep’s sticking to the perfect game plan.
Halep, seventh seed, in her first Grand Final since winning the French Open last year and after losing her world rankings to number one, flew under the radar at these championships, while much of the focus was on Williams and their record pursuit.
But she did the perfect gameplan – suffocating Williams’ biggest weapon in her serve – and it was to her credit that Halep limited the American to only two aces when she fired 45 during her other games.
Halep’s movement around the yard contrasted with a sluggish Williams – “woken up” at some point by a scream from the crowd – and her persistence at the rallies forced the Americans to overcook their shots with a situation sometimes perceived as despair.
A pause in the first game set the tone, with Williams firing far before a halep hung on love, underscoring their determination to win. The net helped Halep in the next game when she flipped the shot, but Williams’ return hit the American back.
With only 11 minutes on the clock, Halep had won the first four games and she hardly slowed down because she only had one breakpoint – which she saved.
Williams started to get a little more into the game at the beginning of the second set, but when she came to the net with all the space available to her and only managed to find the net, which gave Halep the chance, she must have known it wouldn’t be her day.
Halep won the next three games in a row and fell to his knees with his arms raised in the sky as Centre Court got on its feet in recognition of one of Wimbledon’s greatest finals.