Homework for Halep: How to beat Serena in a Wimbledon final

By Sports Desk July 12, 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.

 

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.’

Related items

  • Australian Open 2020: Barty and Serena through as Osaka, Gauff set up showdown Australian Open 2020: Barty and Serena through as Osaka, Gauff set up showdown

    Ash Barty and Serena Williams moved through at the Australian Open as Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff set up a third-round showdown.

    Home favourite and world number one Barty was untroubled on Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday, continuing her run in Melbourne.

    Williams was below her best but still advanced during the night session as her bid for a record-equalling 24th grand slam title continued.

    There is also the prospect of a mouthwatering showdown between two of the game's leading lights on Friday.

     

    BARTY, SERENA UNTROUBLED

    Barty brushed past Slovenian Polona Hercog 6-1 6-4 in just 66 minutes on the back of a consistent performance.

    The Australian mixed 16 winners – nine of those from the forehand side – with 16 unforced errors, setting up a clash with Kazakh 29th seed Elena Rybakina.

    Williams was left frustrated during the second set of her 6-2 6-3 victory over Tamara Zidansek.

    The American star was pushed before advancing in one hour, 18 minutes, having committed 28 unforced errors, including 17 in the second set.

    Next up for Williams is Wang Qiang, the Chinese 27th seed having rushed past Fiona Ferro 6-1 6-2.

     

    OSAKA, GAUFF SET UP BLOCKBUSTER CLASH

    Osaka's title defence stayed alive with a 6-2 6-4 victory over China's Zheng Saisai.

    The Japanese third seed faces her biggest test yet in the third round, where Gauff awaits after the teenager's comeback win.

    Gauff looked set for an exit, trailing Sorana Cirstea 3-0 in the final set.

    But the 15-year-old fought back to claim a 4-6 6-3 7-5 victory and reach the third round at a grand slam for the third straight time.

    Osaka crushed Gauff 6-3 6-0 when the pair met at last year's US Open.

     

    WOZNIACKI STAYS ALIVE AS KVITOVA, KEYS ADVANCE

    Caroline Wozniacki stretched her professional career for at least another match by beating Ukrainian 23rd seed Dayana Yastremska 7-5 7-5.

    The 2018 Australian Open champion, who is retiring at the end of the tournament, came from 5-1 down in the first set and 3-0 behind in the second.

    Last year's runner-up, Petra Kvitova, was tested in a 7-5 7-5 victory over Spain's Paula Badosa while Madison Keys also had moments of concern in her 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 win over Arantxa Rus.

    Petra Martic (13) and Aryna Sabalenka (11) were among the seeds to fall, with the latter beaten by Carla Suarez Navarro in their opening-round clash.

  • Australian Open 2020: I'm ready to go anywhere, whatever it takes - Federer relishing Millman re-match Australian Open 2020: I'm ready to go anywhere, whatever it takes - Federer relishing Millman re-match

    Roger Federer has no desire to revisit the last time he played John Millman at a major but insists he'll be ready for the home favourite at the Australian Open on Friday.

    Federer made serene progress into round three in Melbourne with a 6-1 6-4 6-1 defeat of Filip Krajinovic and will now face Millman, a 6-4 7-5 6-3 victor over Hubert Hurkacz.

    Their only previous grand slam meeting came at the 2018 US Open when the Australian won a round of 16 encounter in four sets in blistering heat in New York.

    Asked if that match had pushed him further than any other physically, he said: "Yeah, definitely. I don't know anything remotely close. I was just happy it was over.

    "I never had that [before]. I rather go back in time [and think I'd like to] play that match again. But I don't have that feeling about that match. I was just happy the US Open was over and I could focus.

    "I think it was a combination of many things that went wrong for me on that day, plus the opponent was ready and tough as nails.

    "I have no regrets. I tried everything in the match itself, it was just not meant to be that day. I hit the wall."

    Conditions in Melbourne have been much kinder for Federer so far, both meteorologically and in terms of the draw.

    The third seed was barely tested by first-round opponent Steve Johnson or Krajinovic, but rubbished suggestions that would leave him undercooked.

    "I prefer this much more than being overcooked," said the Swiss.

    "I prefer it this way because you have always extra left in the tank if you need it."

    Federer is likely to have to dig deeper against Millman, especially as he may be in the unusual position of not being the crowd favourite.

    Millman has already suggested the match should be moved away from Rod Laver Arena due to the number of corporate fans that inhabit the main show court at Melbourne Park - a request that is likely to fall on deaf ears - but Federer is more than happy to play in a raucous atmosphere.

    He said: "I'm always happy when the crowd gets involved.

    "I don't choose which court I play on. I don't know if he was joking or if he was serious [about moving].

    "You would think a match like this should be played on Rod Laver Arena maybe. I don't know if the other seeds have good match-ups as well.

    "He knows Margaret Court Arena better [and] Melbourne Arena but I haven't thought about it.

    "I figured this was always going to be on Rod Laver Arena but I'm ready to go anywhere, whatever it takes."

  • Australian Open 2020: Federer, Djokovic ease through as Dimitrov among seeds to fall Australian Open 2020: Federer, Djokovic ease through as Dimitrov among seeds to fall

    Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic were untroubled, but Grigor Dimitrov was among five seeds to fall at the Australian Open on Wednesday.

    Federer produced an excellent performance in a straight-sets thrashing of Filip Krajinovic on Rod Laver Arena.

    The Swiss great had received good news before even going on court after three seeds fell in his quarter of the draw, with Fabio Fognini only narrowly avoiding that fate.

    Earlier, Djokovic dropped just seven games on his way to a thrashing of Tatsuma Ito in Melbourne.

     

    FEDERER, DJOKOVIC EASE THROUGH

    Having lost a set in the opening-round victory over Jan-Lennard Struff, Djokovic suffered no such setback against Ito, winning 6-1 6-4 6-2.

    A record seven-time champion in Melbourne and 16-time grand slam winner, Djokovic brushed past Ito on the back of 31 winners.

    Federer was even more impressive later in the day, crushing Djokovic's Serbian compatriot Krajinovic 6-1 6-4 6-1.

    The 20-time grand slam champion looked in fabulous form with 42 winners and just 14 unforced errors, reaching the third round in Melbourne for the 21st straight year.

    Federer will next face John Millman, who upset 31st seed Hubert Hurkacz 6-4 7-5 6-3. The Australian stunned Federer at the US Open in 2018.

     

    DIMITROV AMONG SEEDS TO CRASH OUT

    Dimitrov, a semi-finalist in 2017, bowed out in a surprise 6-4 7-6 (8-6) 3-6 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (10-3) loss to Tommy Paul.

    The Bulgarian 18th seed went up by a break twice in the final set, but lost seven consecutive points from 3-3 in the match tie-break.

    Matteo Berrettini, the eighth seed who reached the US Open semi-finals, was edged out by Tennys Sandgren 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 4-6 2-6 7-5.

    Sandgren reached the quarter-finals in 2018 and will face Sam Querrey in an all-American third-round clash.

    British 30th seed Dan Evans also made a second-round exit, losing to Djokovic's next opponent, Yoshihito Nishioka, 6-4 6-3 6-4.

     

    CILIC, RAONIC ADVANCE AS TSITSIPAS GETS FREE PASS

    Marin Cilic, runner-up in 2018, eliminated 21st seed Benoit Paire in a thriller.

    The Croatian needed three hours, 33 minutes to overcome Paire 6-2 6-7 (6-8) 3-6 6-1 7-6 (10-3).

    Next up for Cilic is a man he has lost to twice at the Australian Open in Roberto Bautista Agut, the Spanish ninth seed too good for Michael Mmoh 5-7 6-2 6-4 6-1.

    Milos Raonic has reached at least the Australian Open quarter-finals four times and the Canadian has shown impressive form early on this year.

    The 29-year-old served 19 aces in a 6-3 6-4 6-2 victory over Cristian Garin on Wednesday and next faces 2019 semi-finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas.

    Tsitsipas advanced without hitting a ball after Philipp Kohlschreiber withdrew due to a muscle strain.

     

    FOGNINI TAKEN THE DISTANCE BY THOMPSON

    It is proving to be an arduous campaign for Fognini, who surrendered a two-set lead before holding his nerve in a decisive tie-break with home hope Jordan Thompson.

    The Italian was taken the distance in his first-round meeting with Reilly Opelka after losing the first two sets, and this time it was the 12th seed who almost choked on a healthy lead.

    Fognini hurt himself when punching his racket in frustration and was called for a foot-fault in the fifth-set breaker, but he got the job done in a memorable 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 3-6 4-6 7-6 (10-4) triumph that took more than four hours to complete. 

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.