Wimbledon LIVE: Serena Williams sets sights on an EIGHTH singles title against Halep… but is broken TWICE in the first set
- Serena Williams takes on Simona Halep in the Wimbledon final today at 2pm BST
- UK viewers can watch Wimbledon women’s singles final live on BBC One
- Serena Williams is bookmakers favourite to win her eighth Wimbledon title
Seven-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams takes on Simona Halep in the women’s singles final today.
Williams will looking to go one step further than last year when she was defeated by Angelique Kerber in the final as the American tennis star looks for her first Grand Slam win since making return to tennis last year.
Former World No.1 Halep has reaches her first final at the All England Club as she looks to gain her second Grand Slam title win after winning French Open last year.
Sportsmail’s Jordan Seward will provide live SW19 coverage of the Serena Williams vs Simona Halep’s WImbledon final clash.
Halep hits her first serve out and her second attempt is tentative at 81mph. Serena attacks it with a big forehand across court and Halep can’t return.
The Romanian’s next serve is good and pushes Serena back as her forehand loops out down the line.
The two engage in a rally and Williams needs a bit of luck from the net to take the point. 15-30.
Williams struggles to return her next serve and Halep runs forward to smash a backhand across court to win the point.
Halpe hits the best serve of her match and Williams can only return too deep.
The American is again forced to hit deep after a strong serve from Halep. A big hold and now she has one hand on the trophy.
Halep hits a return shot with purpose and Williams can only find the net.
The American sends her opponent across the court but Halep somehow gets there to return a backhand. Williams misses a real chance as she smashes a volley straight at her opponent and Halep stays in the rally before Williams hits the net. 0-30.
Williams wins the next point but cat-like quickness from Halep sees her get across the court to hit a superb forehand to give herself two break points.
The Romanian returns well but Williams dictates play off her forehand. Halep is so quick across the ground and stays in the rally before the American hits a forehand close to the net too long. It’s a break for Halep.
Williams makes another unforced error as she slices a backhand wide of the lines.
The American tries to push her opponent back but hits her forehand slightly too deep. 30- 0
The two engage in a rally as Halep plays a sneaky drop shot. Williams returns with a good backhand slice as both exchange shots at the net. Halep loops one over the American’s head who has to loop one right up in the air to keep it in. Halep smashes a volley from the centre of the court to take the point.
The Romanian keeps her calm to take the next point and hold her serve.
Halep has a shot on the baseline called out which she challenges, the replay shows it is comfortably in but because Serena returned after the call, the umpire asks them to replay the point.
Serena hits a powerful serve down and Halep can’t get her return shot over the net. 15-0.
Halep slips just after hitting a forehand and Williams capatilises to hit a drop shot to win the point.
Williams is using the corners of the court well now and gives herself three game points.
Halep’s return is well too deep and it’s a second successive hold to love for Williams. She is beginning to go through the gears.
Williams mistimes her return and hits it out.
A strong backhand return from Williams puts her on the frontfoot. She makes Halep run from side to side before the Romanian can only hit the net. 15-15.
Williams puts a bit of extra crackle on that return of serve and Halep is powerless to reach it.
Halep keeps calm and hits a good forehand which Williams fails to get back over the net.
The American then makes an error by hitting deep to give Halep a chance of holding.
The two engage in a rally and again the American blinks first and hits out. Halep survives the barrage for an important hold.
Williams hits a big serve and dictates the rally, but Halep is moving across the court well and somehow, despite being on the backfoot, takes the opening point of this second set.
The American stays calm and pushes Halep from side to side to take the next point before letting out an almighty yelp.
Williams plays a superb forehand across court and again lets out a big scream after winning the point.
Halep manages to return a big serve from Williams, but the American has time to come forward and hit a powerful shot on the bounce, but she puts too much on it and overhits.
Williams is serving well here and wins the next points to take the first game.
MIKE DICKSON: Great start from Simona Halep, no surprise that she is not overwhelmed by this challenge. She is a very tough competitor with a lot of experience and this is as pressure free a final as she could play, as Wimbledon would not be a Slam she expected to win. She just showed their her exceptional speed.
Williams’ first return is deep. 15-0 Halep.
The American this time plays a decent return and forces her opponent to find the net.
Williams plays a powerful forehand down the line, but from an awkward position, somehow Halep keeps it in with a superb backhand and Williams, close to the net can only hit into the net.
Halep keeps her composure to win a rally and two set points.
The Romanian faults on her first serve and Williams take advantage by smashing a return to win a huge point.
Halep makes up for her error and smashes a big serve. Williams’ return is deep and the Romanian is a set up.
Williams serving to stay in the set, sends one down at 100mph and Halep can’t make a meaningful return, giving the American an easy chance to smash a forehand to take the point.
The Romanian finds the net with her second return. 30-0 Williams.
Williams is finding her groove now and plays a superb looping forehand down the line to further her advantage.
Halep again finds the net with her return shot as Williams holds comfortably.
Williams and Halep trade shots but it’s the American who is hitting her forehands with real purpose. Halep somehow manages to stay in the rally but Williams comes forward and takes the point.
The American again looks to come on to the frontfoot and pushes her opponent back, but Halep somehow plays a shot across court just on the line to level it up at 15-15.
Halep has to take a second serve and Serena immediately takes up an offensive position and returns with a powerful shot. She wins the point with a superb forehand on the baseline.
Halep responds with a superb serve to level the scores again at 30-30.
The Romanian takes the lead after pushing the American back and forcing her to try a big forehand which hits the net.
Halep sends down the serve for the game but a viscous return from Serena sees the score tied at deuce.
Williams smartly hits a return down the sideline beyond Halep to take advantage point.
The two engage in a rally but a looping forehand from Williams just lands beyond the line.
A big serve out wide from Halep wins the point.
A deep return from Williams puts the Romanian on her backfoot, but she smashes a forehand across court to hold.
Williams starts with a good serve and Halep is unable to return this time, finding the net.
Another big serve and Halep’s return is too deep.
Halep again struggles to get a good enough return, allowing Williams to dictate play. The American mistimes her smash after a looping shot from Halep but wrongfoots her opponent the next opportunity to take the point.
Another big serve and Halep can’t return again. Williams is on the board in this final.
Halep goes on the charge again as the two trade forehands and backends. Williams is dictating the play but the Romanian hits a looping shot on the baseline to take the point.
The American is slightly rushing her shots at the moment and makes another error as she hits long. 30-0.
Halep this time hits well out after a short rally. Her first unforced error of the match.
Williams is beginning to show more positive signs but an ambitious shot goes just out.
The American keeps her compsure and wins the next point but Halep smashes down an ace to take the game.
Williams sends a serve out wide, Halep gets it back but the American exploits the space by hitting down the line to take the first point.
Unbelievable hitting from both women, Williams appeared to have Halep on the backfoot but the Romanian scampers across the grass to reach a drop shot and hit it past her opponent to take the point. 15-15.
Williams slams a serve down at 116mph but Halep has no issues returning and Williams hits into the net. 15-30.
The American shows a bit more intent and pushes Halep back before she hits too deep. 30-30.
The two engage in another rally but Williams is first to lose her composure as she hits one way too long.
Halep hits a fierce return down the line to take the winning point. Another break and now she is 3-0 up. What a start for the Romanian.
Halep starts with a strong serve and Williams returns straight into the net.
The Romanian has started well and wins three rallies on the spin to hold to love.
Serena starts with a strong serve and Halep can only hit it straight into the net.
Halep this time returns strong, Williams gets on the front foot but the Romanian flicks it to the American’s left. 15-15.
The serve is this time too strong and Halep’s return is long.
Again the underdog strikes back as this time it’s Williams turn to overhit her shot.
The two exchange forehands and engage in a rally. Halep perhaps the more tentative but it’s Williams who fumbles as she hits long.
The Romanian again forces her opponent to hit too deep to break and take the opening set.
Serena to serve.
Huge cheers as Simona Halep emerges on Centre Court, followed by the favourite Serena Williams. Most will be behind the American today, but Halep will be determined to win her second Grand Slam.
Huge anticipation ahead of this and I for one cannot wait.
Serena Williams looks set to win her 8th Wimbledon title as she becomes the oldest competitor in a grand slam final in the Open era – according to bookie SportNation.Bet.
The 37-year-old will also equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 women’s grand slam titles with a win and is odds on at 1/2 to do so.
On the American’s side is her impressive 9-2 career record against opponent Simona Halep (13/8), the first ever Romanian to reach a Wimbledon final – having also won five of their last five meetings.
With a current 7-3 record at SW19, Williams is priced at 23/20 to win the game in straight sets – a teasing punt for tennis fans with Halep losing just one set on her way to the final. Halep is 13/10 to not win a single set.
Women’s Singles final
Serena Williams: 1/2 Simona Halep: 13/8 Serena Williams to win in straight sets: 23/20 All odds from SportNation.Bet
Williams desperate to make Slam history by beating Halep
The image of indifference that Serena Williams has been carefully constructing around the prospect of moving to a record-equalling 24 Grand Slam singles titles was summarily undressed as a ruse on the eve of this final with Simona Halep — by the person who has guided her to this point.
All tournament Serena has claimed that after motherhood it is the taking part which counts, not necessarily the winning, sounding occasionally like an encouraging teacher on school sports day.
‘It’s really not about 24 or 23 or 25, it’s about giving my best effort,’ she said after winning her semi-final. ‘No matter what, I will always have a great career.’
Speaking on Centre Court on Friday, however, her coach Patrick Mouratoglou gave us a truer picture. ‘Serena has beaten a lot of records but this is the ultimate one,’ he said. ‘Of course, I’m not gonna lie about that. This is the reason she came back to tennis, to accept this life to travel all round. It’s because she wants the record. This final is gonna be incredibly special.’
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And welcome to this live blog of the Women’s Singles Wimbledon final between Serena Williams and Simona Halep.
I am delighted to say that I have the pleasure of running you through today’s game, which is sure to be a cracker.
We are still over an hour away from the first serve, but stick with us as we have got plenty to keep you busy with before this match gets underway.
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