Chilling Halep bubbles to the boil to win Wimbledon

Williams will play for her eighth Wimbledon title

Williams will play for her eighth Wimbledon title

"When I came back from Montreal in 1976, there were 10,000 people who had turned up to greet me and I didn't know what hit me", recalled Comaneci about the welcome she received as a 14-year-old. You know, I never thought about time in general.

While Comaneci had total faith that her friend would triumph on Saturday, others were not so sure considering Halep had won only one of her previous 10 meetings against Williams - and that nearly five years ago. "I just told her that we'll talk later".

"Seems like every Grand Slam final I'm in recently has been an unbelievable effort to get there".

"It was an honour to play in front of her".

Williams will enter the U.S. Open searching for her first Grand Slam victory since the 2017 Australian Open. "And also I feel stable on the legs, which is very important on the grass".

"She said if I want to do something special in tennis I will have to play in the final of Wimbledon", she said. "You can get nervous, too nervous".

Halep 27, raced into a 4-0 lead in the first set, securing a double break of serve as the Romanian made an inspired start on Centre Court. Wimbledon was stunned, but not as half as much as Williams.

In the past two decades dozens of opponents have felt what it is like to suffer a Serena attack and be a set down before settling into the match.

Williams was responding to a question from a journalist who told her tennis legend Billie Jean King suggested the 23-time major victor should stop trying to be a "celebrity" and concentrate on winning matches.

Williams has always embraced her role as a champion of gender equality and that was on show in a recent essay she penned for Harper's Bazaar in which she addressed her controversial US Open final against Naomi Osaka past year. "I've always been intimidated a little bit when I faced Serena". "She's very kind, very nice", Halep added. "She's an inspiration for everyone".

Serena Williams' tennis career will come to an end one day but her determination to fight for equality won't. But I decided before the match that I'm going to focus on myself and on the final of grand slam, not on her.

Romania's richest man, Ion Tiriac, was in full flow on the Wimbledon players' lawn when, 10 minutes after leaving Centre Court, Simona Halep bounded up to give him a hug. "Wake up Serena" someone yelled as Halep served for the first set at 5-2.

"Someone told me I shouldn't look at the records anymore". I said, 'OK, it's 5-2, it's real.' Then I just played every ball. "I didn't think about the score at all".

Then there was the brouhaha around the Duchess of Sussex watching her match on No 1 court and an exclusion zone set up around her in the members' area, to the chagrin of some.

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