Tuesday 16 July 2019

Serena Williams sets up Wimbledon final showdown with Simona Halep after annihilating Barbora Strycova

Serena Williams celebrates during the women's singles semi final match on day ten of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London. Steven Paston/PA Wire
Serena Williams celebrates during the women's singles semi final match on day ten of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London. Steven Paston/PA Wire

Andy Sims

Serena Williams destroyed Barbora Strycova to reach the Wimbledon final and move to within one victory of an elusive 24th grand slam singles title.

The seven-time SW19 champion overpowered unseeded Czech Strycova 6-1 6-2 in 59 punishing minutes on Centre Court.

The quest to equal Margaret Court's record tally of major wins weighed heavily on Williams in her defeats in last year's Wimbledon and US Open finals.

But the 37-year-old means business this year, having upped her levels round by round to march into her 11th final at the All England Club.

Strycova, at 33 the oldest first-time female grand slam semi-finalist, had sliced and hustled her way past Johanna Konta in the quarter-final.

But she was simply blown away by a flurry of powerful winners from the American, who served flawlessly before breaking to lead 3-1 in a lightning start to the opening set.

A 121mph ace helped Williams hold to love and a second break was secured courtesy of a fizzing backhand down the line.

Strycova took her frustration out on a thunderous backhand winner, and a net cord offered up three break points, but Williams ruthlessly snuffed them out to hold for the set.

Strycova let out a scream of frustration as a simple volley drifted wide to gift a second break in the second set, and another thumping Williams forehand wrapped up the match.

Now only Romanian Simona Halep stands in the way of Williams achieving her record-equalling dream.

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