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Simona Halep reaches first Wimbledon final with straight sets victory

Simona Halep needs just 73 minutes to defeat Elina Svitolina in straight sets to reach her first ever Wimbledon final

  • Simona Halep is into her first Wimbledon final after beating Elina Svitolina
  • After romping to a 6-1 victory in the first set she won the second 6-3
  • Romanian will face Serena Williams after she beat Barbora Strycova afterwards

Simona Halep insists that she is ‘chilled’. Anyone watching the Romanian chasing every last ball down and going hammer and tongs against Elina Svitolina may doubt that.

But the world No 1 is certain, and chilled will be how she will remain heading into her first Wimbledon final. After all, she says, ‘we see that I’m better on court’.

In securing her spot in the last two, the diminutive 27-year-old displayed her best never-say-die tennis.

Simona Halep has her head in her hands after reaching her first Wimbledon final

Simona Halep has her head in her hands after reaching her first Wimbledon final

Simona Halep celebrates a point during her women's semi-final against Elina Svitolina

Simona Halep celebrates a point during her women’s semi-final against Elina Svitolina

Halep powers a forehand over the net as she claims the first set 6-1 over the Ukrainian

Halep powers a forehand over the net as she claims the first set 6-1 over the Ukrainian

Yet the 6-1, 6-3 scoreline certainly did not do justice to the fight put up by Svitolina.

For 20 minutes and two games, the two traded blows from the baseline and endured some monster rallies.

But very few players can out-grind Halep, and over the 30 points, including two 23-shot rallies, she came out on top, to lead 2-0.

Admitting later that she had been ‘tired’ by the effort, she dropped her serve to love, but then never looked like losing.

Having surged clear of Svitolina to serve at 5-1, she needed six set points to get herself halfway to the final, but did it with a crunching forehand winner.

Although Svitolina stayed with her for the next six games, Halep took the first break point that came her way for a 4-3 lead and then held serve easily, leaving the Ukrainian serving to try to stay in the Championships.

No 8 seed Sviotlina hits a backhand as she returns to Halep during their semi-final clash

No 8 seed Sviotlina hits a backhand as she returns to Halep during their semi-final clash

That was not to be, and nor was the marathon that at one point had looked likely.

Halep closed out the win with a thumping return that drew the error from a tired-looking Svitolina after just one hour and 13 minutes.

Of the 32 points that had gone beyond nine shots, she had won 25 of them, and she had pummelled down 15 winners.

‘After the first game, I was a little bit tired. Then the second game came same. The third game I couldn’t play any more and I lost it fast. But she was really strong. She didn’t give up a point. The rallies were very long and very powerful, as well. It was really tough to stay there.

‘But I knew that I was actually prepared against her to fight for every ball. I had to be there, I had to be strong.’

The No 7 seed Halep will face Serena Williams who beat Barbora Strycova later in the day

The No 7 seed Halep will face Serena Williams who beat Barbora Strycova later in the day

The small matter of sharing Centre Court on Saturday with Serena Williams – who will be out to match Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slams – does not rattle Halep.

‘I will focus on myself. I’m not thinking about her record. Of course, is huge. Her records are huge already,’ she said.

‘I played many matches against her. Many of them were very close. I have learned that I have the chance. Now, if I face her, I will believe that I have my chance to win against her. Of course, I respect a lot what she has done and what she’s doing. But now I feel stronger mentally facing her.

‘I’m in a good position, honestly. I have no pressure on myself, just positive one. I have expectations for myself that I can do a great job on court Saturday. Still I’m chill.’

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