Simona Halep won her first Wimbledon final and second Grand Slam, defeating Serena Williams 6-2, 6-2, in just 56 minutes.
That means that for Serena Williams, history will have to wait.
Playing for one of the few records in tennis history that she doesn’t own outright — a 24th Grand Slam title that would tie Margaret Court’s mark — Williams was undone by a slew of unforced errors.
The match started ominously for the 37-year-old Williams, a seven-time Wimbledon champion who was seeking to win her first tournament win since giving birth to a daughter, Alexis Olympia, in September 2017.
Not in peak form at the outset, she sprayed forehands long and plowed backhands into the net.
Halep, 27, was steady as a backboard by contrast, absorbing Williams’s power, running down sharply angled shots and avoiding unforced errors.
Just 11 minutes in, Williams found herself 0-4 in arrears.
The match was a study in sharp contrasts.
It was their 11th career meeting, and Williams stepped onto Centre Court knowing she held a 9-1 advantage in their previous meetings — not to mention, was a seven-time Wimbledon champion.
Williams had the clear edge in power and experience; Halep, in foot speed and defense.
But the first set was over in a flash. Playing nearly error-free tennis, Halep claimed the opening set, 6-2, in 26 minutes.
Williams ramped up the power and angles of her shots to start the second set. She also amped up the decibels of her celebrations, unleashing a ferocious roar after executing a deft touch volley in her opening service game.
Halep was unrattled.
Time and again, Williams went for broke on her shots, eager to end the rally, only to watch in near disbelief as Halep chased down a ball that would have been a winner against many other opponents.
Final: Halep wins Wimbledon title, 6-2, 6-2
Halep dominated the match to win in under an hour and keep Williams from major title No. 24. It’s the Romanian’s second Grand Slam tournament title, following the 2018 French Open championship, and her first at Wimbledon. This is the first time in Williams’s career that she has lost three consecutive Grand Slam finals in which she’s competed.
Second set: Halep will serve for the match leading 5-2
This match went off the rails quickly (in just 53 minutes) for Williams. Halep broke again and will serve for her first Wimbledon title.
Second set: Halep breaks to lead 3-2
Halep has maintained control even after Williams seemed to settle in and raise her level early in the second set. The Romanian’s timing remains impeccable, and Williams hasn’t found her best serves — she is without an ace to this point. This may be the best Halep has ever played.
Halep wins first set, 6-2
Williams hasn’t had the best start, but this so far match is all about Halep. The Romanian played a nearly perfect first set — she had just unforced errors — and ended it by sending a serve to Williams’s forehand, which the American sent sailing out. All three of the previous Grand Slam meetings between Williams and Halep went three sets, but for now, Halep is in the driver’s seat.
First set: Halep breaks again, leads 4-0
Halep is up a double break and seals a 4-0 lead with an ace as Williams looks off her game early. The American already has six unforced errors on her backhand.
First set: Halep breaks early for a 2-0 lead
Halep’s primo defending is on display early as she takes a game off the seven-time champion by reading her serve and placing returns well. She consolidated the break by holding serve at 40-0.