- 12 Jul 2019
Simona Halep will face what she described as a “big challenge” in her first Wimbledon final against the great Serena Williams on Saturday.
Halep knows all about the pressure of playing in grand slam deciders, losing three before claiming her maiden major title at the French Open last year.
The former world number one is also well aware of how hard it is to beat 23-time grand slam singles champion Williams, having come out on top in only one of their 10 encounters.
Halep’s solitary triumph over the veteran, winner of the singles title at Wimbledon on seven occasions, came at the 2014 WTA Finals.
So how can the Romanian go about denying the American a record-equalling 24th major success at SW19?
Here is what the three women to have beaten the 37-year-old legend in a Wimbledon final have said about achieving the feat.
— Simona Halep (@Simona_Halep) July 11, 2019
SHARAPOVA: NO EASY ROAD TO BEATING SERENA
Williams was expected to be too strong for Maria Sharapova, but the 17-year-old Russian pulled off a stunning 6-1 6-4 victory in 2004.
The teenager showed no fear on Centre Court, blowing away a strong favourite who had won the title the two previous years to claim her first major title.
Sharapova went on to become a fierce rival of Williams’ and claims she heard her crying in the locker room after dethroning her on the hallowed grass 15 years ago.
She said of the challenge of facing Williams: “There’s no easy road to victory. You’re going to have your bumps. That’s the way I see it.”
VICTORY SEEMED SO FAR AWAY – VENUS
While losing any final is hard to take, losing to your sister should soften the blow somewhat.
It was Venus who won the battle of the siblings in 2008, lifting the Venus Rosewater Dish for a fifth time following a 7-5 6-4 victory.
There were long baseline exchanges between the heavy-hitters and the older sister came from a break down in both sets to come out on top.
Venus said: “When you’re in the final against Serena, five [titles] seems so far away. She played so awesome so it was really a task.”
STAYING ‘COOL’ HELPED KERBER PUT THE HEAT ON
Angelique Kerber stopped Williams from matching Margaret Court’s tally of 24 grand slam singles titles with a 6-3 6-3 win last year.
Kerber made only five unforced errors in a brilliant performance, hardly putting a foot run to deny Williams her first title since becoming a mother.
The German said: “I didn’t feel like she lost the match, I won it.
“I was trying not to think too much that I was playing against Serena, staying on my side of the court. Staying a little bit cool, being not too emotional.’