Wimbledon 2019: Serena Williams books place in 11th final to face Simona Halep

Serena Williams celebrates after reaching another Wimbledon final
Serena Williams celebrates after reaching another Wimbledon final

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.

Halep reaches first Wimbledon final with defeat of Svitolina

Simona Halep on her way to the Wimbledon final
Simona Halep on her way to the Wimbledon final

Simona Halep defeated Elina Svitolina to become the first Romanian woman to reach a Wimbledon singles final.

The seventh seed produced a fine display to win 6-1 6-3 in just an hour and 13 minutes.

It will be Halep's fifth grand slam final and comes just over a year after she won her first major title at the fourth attempt at the French Open.

Although both women have been top-10 stalwarts for several years, this was in many ways an unexpected semi-final clash.

Neither has been in good form, Halep dropping from world number one at this time last year to seven now, while Svitolina has struggled with a knee injury.

Both are more at home on slower surfaces, meanwhile, and there was a certain irony that, after trying for so long to overcome the quarter-final hurdle at a slam, Svitolina should finally do so on grass.

Halep had been this far before at Wimbledon but not since 2014, when she was beaten by Eugenie Bouchard.

Both players are counter-punchers and they dragged each other all over Centre Court during two mammoth games, both eventually won by Halep, that lasted 20 minutes.

Svitolina got on the board with a quick break back but it was Halep who seized control of the set thereafter, her extra attacking abilities, particularly her forehand down the line, giving her the edge.

It took her six set points to get over the line but she finally did so with a forehand winner.

Svitolina, who is coached by Englishman Andy Bettles, stayed with Halep for six games in the second set but a break for the Romanian to lead 4-3 proved the crucial moment.

Svitolina saved one match point at 3-5 with some desperate defence but netted on the second.

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