Serena Williams to face Simona Halep in Wimbledon women’s final

July 13, 2019

Serena Williams will face Romanian tennis pro Simona Halep for the 11th time in her career on Saturday as the two battle it out in the Women’s final at the All England Club.

For Williams, a win at Wimbledon would mean that she would hold the record, alongside Margaret Court, for the most Grand Slam singles titles won in tennis history with 24 trophies.

The 37-year-old American tennis legend has dominated the grass courts in the past. She is a seven-time champion at Wimbledon with her first win coming in 2002 against her older sister Venus Williams, who was the two-time defending champ at the time. Saturday also marks Serena’s 11th time playing for the Wimbledon title at Centre Court.

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United States’ Serena Williams returns to United States’ Alison Riske in a Women’s quarterfinal singles match on day eight of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Tuesday, July 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

By contrast, Saturday’s game will be Halep’s first final appearance at Wimbledon.

The two players have matched up 10 times in the past, with Williams winning nine of those encounters.

But despite the odds being in her favor, Williams told reporters on Friday she only thinks about the one time she lost to Halep.

“The biggest key with our matches is the loss that I had. I never forgot it. She played unbelievable,” she said looking back on the 2014 match. “That makes me know that level she played at — she can get there again. So I have to be better than that.”

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However, the motivation for Halep is more about the title than it is about besting one of her most challenging opponents.

Romania's Simona Halep celebrates winning a point against Ukraine's Elina Svitolina in a Women's semifinal singles match on day ten of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Thursday, July 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Romania’s Simona Halep celebrates winning a point against Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina in a Women’s semifinal singles match on day ten of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Thursday, July 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

“I’m desperate to win Wimbledon more than to stop her,” she said. “I will focus on myself.”

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Halep, the No. 7 seed, beat Elina Svitolina 6-1, 6-3 in the semifinals to make it to Saturday’s final.

Williams is facing an uphill battle – her last Grand Slam title came in 2017 at the Australian Open. She came close last year at Wimbledon but lost 6-2, 6-4 to fellow American Naomi Osaka.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.