herald

Saturday 21 September 2019

Serena is serene in pursuit of record

Serena Williams
Serena Williams

Serena Williams says her quest to equal Margaret Court's record tally of 24 grand slam singles wins is not weighing heavily on her mind after reaching the Wimbledon final.

The seven-time champion is within one victory of putting herself alongside the Australian after she overpowered unseeded Barbora Strycova 6-1 6-2 in the semi-final.

The prospect of doing so caused Williams issues in her defeats in last year's Wimbledon and US Open finals, but she insists it will no longer be a problem when she faces Simona Halep in tomorrow's final.

"I thought about it this morning," she said. "I actually didn't think about it since because it's really not about 24, or 23, or 25.

"It's really just about going out there and giving my best effort. No matter what I do, I will always have had a great career.

"I just kind of let it go this morning. I feel really calm about it."

Williams believes her mixed doubles partnership with Andy Murray helped her get so far.

The serve has been nearly flawless and the groundstrokes as brutal as ever, but her occasional forays to the net - a feature of her doubles matches with Murray - have also paid off handsomely.

Williams admitted: "I promise you, when I hit a volley I was like, 'Would I have made that if I didn't play doubles'? I don't think so."

Halep described reaching her first Wimbledon final as one of the best moments of her life.

The seventh seed produced a fine display to beat Elina Svitolina 6-1 6-3 in just an hour and 13 minutes and become the first Romanian woman to make the singles showpiece at Wimbledon.

"It is an amazing feeling. I am very excited and nervous. It was one of the best moments of my life," said Halep.

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.

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