- 13 Jul 2019
A short time after the pre-match toss of a coin which had been sent to space, pocket rocket Simona Halep blew a kiss into the sky after turning on the after-burners to win her first Wimbledon title.
Thousands packed into Centre Court and around the grounds of the All England Club knowing they may see Serena Williams match Margaret Court’s record of 24 grand slam singles titles.
Yet it was the phenomenal Halep who made history, becoming the first Romanian to win a singles crown at SW19 by dismantling the legendary American 6-2 6-2.
Halep has adopted what she described as a “chill” approach since claiming her first major triumph at the French Open last year and her ice-cold temperament had Williams feeling the heat on Saturday.
The 27-year-old was the underdog against an opponent who had beaten her nine times in their 10 previous meetings, but declared she was “mentally stronger” ahead of her first Wimbledon final.
Halep stated she had fallen in love with grass during the tournament and her heart must have been throbbing as she swarmed all over a startled Williams, before planting a kiss on the Venus Rosewater Dish.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2019
The amiable Constanta native had lift-off from the start of a one-sided contest after a gold coin that was taken on a mission to the International Space Station last year was flipped.
It was mission accomplished after just 56 minutes of a relentless, out-of-this-world masterclass from Halep in which she made only three unforced errors.
The majestic former world number one was a bundle of energy throughout, dictating rally after rally and drawing gasps from the crowd with her astonishing athleticism and skill.
Williams was beaten in straights sets by Angelique Kerber in the final last year and suffered a huge meltdown as Naomi Osaka brushed her aside in the US Open decider two months later.
The 37-year-old looked like she did not know what had hit her again during and after a regal performance with the Duchess of Cambridge and Williams’ friend the Duchess of Sussex watching on from the Royal Box.
She was made to look sluggish by a vibrant Halep, who charged around the hallowed turf at rapid speed and never looked back after racing into a 4-0 lead in only 11 minutes.
Williams had a forlorn look of resignation on her face as the sprightly seventh seed defended as if her life depended on it, winning points she had no right to with incredible court coverage.
“She played out of her mind. It was a little bit deer in headlights for me,” Williams said after another chance to match Court’s tally passed her by in a flash.
Halep dropped to the grass that she has taken to her heart, while Williams sat in her chair staring into space.