Thursday, July 11, 2019

Down to two: It's the seven-time champion against Si-mo-na!

A not-so-casual observer probably expected today's first Wimbledon semifinal to go three sets, or least last a fairly long time. But Simona Halep, like a certain New England Senator, had a plan for that.

Halep, not surprisingly, had been doing some thinking (she's known for that), and she figured out that--with her strong legs, "I can open the court....The court works for me if I play the right tactic." And play it she did, over and over. She sliced and she dropped, going for classic grass court strategies. She also served very well, and with 26 winners and only 15 unforced errors, she defeated Elina Svitolina 6-1, 6-3 in just 72 minutes.

Today's match marked the first time that Svitolina had ever reached a major semifinal, so she does have some progress to enjoy. But Halep was at her best, and the talented Ukrainian just couldn't make any headway against her.

The second semifinal went more as one might have predicted. Barbora Strycova, for all her cleverness and agility, couldn't compete against a very in-form Serena Williams. Williams won with 89% of her first serves, and she won 81% of her net approaches. She also hit 28 winners and made only ten unforced errors.

On Saturday, Williams will play her eleventh Wimbledon singles final. So far, she has lost only three, to Maria Sharapova (2004), to Venus Williams (2008) and to Angie Kerber (2018). It will be Halep's first Wimbledon final.

Paths to the final:


round 1--def.  Giulia Gotto-Monticone (Q)
round 2--def. Kaja Juvan
round 3--def. Julia Goerges (18)
round of 16--def. Carla Suarez Navarro (30)
quarterfinals--def. Alison Riske
semifinals--def. Barbora Strycova


round 1--def. Aliaksandra Sasnovich
round 2--def. Mihaela Buzarnescu
round 3--def. Victoria Azarenka
round of 16--def. Coco Gauff (Q)
quarterfinals--def. Zhang Shuai
semifinals--def. Elina Svitolina (8)

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