We’re nearing the end of Wimbledon 2019 with the women’s singles final all set for Saturday between Serena Williams and Simona Halep. Unfortunately both of Thursday’s semi-finals were one-sided and over rather quickly, but i’m hopeful for a decent final! Read on for the penultimate post from the 2019 grass court season on Moo’s Tennis Blog.
Match reviews 🎾
Simona Halep d. Elina Svitolina, 6-1 6-3
Early proceedings suggested that the first of the semi-finals could be a lengthy, drawn-out match with the first two games taking 20 minutes! Halep won both games and held onto that early momentum, winning in 73 minutes. Sadly it never got going as a contest. Svitolina began passively, which I expected, because this was her first Slam semi-final AND her first ever appearance on Centre Court. Svitolina never really settled though and was constantly on the defence. Svitolina tried a few slices in the second set but just couldn’t break down Halep, or disrupt her rhythm.
I thought Halep played a superb match. She was noticeably more aggressive than Svitolina and built the points thoughtfully, using angles to get Svitolina out wide. Halep finished many points with winners down-the-line. Via WTA Insider on Twitter, Halep won 25 of 32 points that went longer than nine shots. That’s a surprising stat considering their similar game styles and how well Svitolina defends and has generally done in this match-up against Halep.
There were a few moments of frustration for Halep but she never wavered mentally. I thought there was a surprising sense of calm with Halep when she secured the crucial break in the second set at 3-3 and it never really felt like Svitolina, as resilient as she can be, was going to get back in contention. While this is Svitolina’s best Slam result, I don’t feel like she played anywhere close to her best tennis at this tournament. If she can stay healthy, I think she will be one to watch on the US hard courts. Halep hasn’t dropped a set since the second round and has been super steady, playing with patient aggression, to reach her fifth Slam final and first Wimbledon final.
Serena Williams d. Barbora Strycova, 6-1 6-2
Serena Williams has now won her last 11 semi-finals at Wimbledon as she eased past Barbora Strycova in less than an hour. It was Serena’s most dominant performance of the tournament so far. As I keep repeating on the blog, I love Serena’s use of angles and it was very effective again in this match. Serena dropped just three points behind her first serve and held all eight of her service games.
Perhaps most impressive of all was Serena’s movement and footwork. She looked really sharp moving forward to the net. Serena spoke about it in her press conference and cited playing mixed doubles as helping with her volleying. Serena handled Strycova’s variety handily as the Czech player struggled to impose her game on the match. An amazing tournament for Strycova who is still going in the women’s doubles with Hsieh Su-Wei. Serena marches on to yet another Wimbledon final…
Stat watch 🔢
Women’s semi-finals day has been rather one-sided of late. The last nine semi-finals have all been decided in straight sets with the last three setter all the way back in 2015 when Garbiñe Muguruza beat Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-2 3-6 6-3.
Hot shot of the day 🔥
Love this backhand winner down-the-line from Serena.
LOL moment 🤣
Jelena Ostapenko was at it again on Wednesday, hitting her partner again! I love watching late night doubles at Wimby.
Super snap 📸
Like this shot of Serena on the run.
Press highlights 📰
Simona Halep’s press conference is linked below where she talked about chilling, playing Serena and how being in the Wimby final was a dream of her Mum’s!
Recommended reading 📚
A wonderfully detailed analysis of the Halep-Svitolina semi-final by Mert Ertunga on Tennis with an Accent.
Recommended media 📺
Find out more about the Last 8 Club at Wimbledon. Didn’t really know anything about this! I noticed that Karolina Muchova posted a badge she received for reaching the Last 8 on Instagram.
Final preview ⭐
The 2019 Wimbledon women’s singles final between Serena Williams and Simona Halep is all set for Saturday at 2pm. This will be their 11th meeting with Serena leading the head-to-head, 9-1. Serena has won their last five matches although three of them have gone the distance. They last met in the last 16 at the Australian Open which was one of my favourite matches of the tournament where Serena won, 6-1 4-6 6-4. I thought Halep put up a superb fight in the last two sets of that match and Serena really had to dig deep to win.
Key for Halep is to get an early foothold into the match and not allow Serena to jump out into a lead. Halep has been playing with noticeable aggression from the baseline and going for her shots down-the-line. She’ll need to continue to go after her shots and get a high percentage of first serves in because Serena will attack the second serve (Note – Halep landed at least 70% first serves in for her QF and SF matches). Halep has seemed pretty calm all tournament and dare I say, enjoying playing on the grass! While Halep is 1-3 in Slam finals, she’s competed superbly in them and all four of them went three sets.
Serena is the clear favourite to win based on form this tournament and at Wimbledon generally. I think she has been steadily improving with each match and she has had her tests which I think is always favourable. The only doubt I have for Serena is whether she can handle her nerves and the situation. As much as she plays it down, I think she puts a lot of internal pressure on herself with Slam #24 on the line. Serena just couldn’t get going in last year’s Wimbledon final against a peak, Angelique Kerber.
After the one-sided semi-finals, i’m really hoping for a competitive final. I tend to think it will be close with at least one close set and hopefully going three! I’m going for Serena.