Wimbledon 2019: Simona Halep through to women's final after outclassing Elina Svitolina
The Romanian wrapped up victory in just 72 minutes, winning 6-1 6-3 on Centre Court
After a tentative opening from both players, the world No 7 found her rhythm to consign Svitolina to a 6-1 6-3 defeat with a commanding and assertive display.
The Romanian wrapped up victory in just 72 minutes and will now face Serena Williams, who beat Barbora Strycova 6-1 6-2, in Saturday’s final.
It took 20 minutes for this match to slowly trudge through the opening two games. The two women looked hesitant, reserved, risk-averse. Back and forth the ball went in a series of draining exchanges that lacked much in the way of variety. It was hard not to look away, though, as those here on Centre Court watched on curiously to see who would finally stir into life.
The first game alone saw two huge 23-shot rallies break out as Halep and Svitolina went through the motions. Backhand. Forehand. Backhand. Forehand. From left to right the game swung, both players scurrying across their baselines, waiting for their moment to strike.
It was Halep, though, who managed to claim the early edge. At the fourth time of asking, the Romanian eventually broke her opponent in the first game before holding her serve in the second.
This should have been the platform Halep needed to push on but, after her exertions of the previous 20 minutes, her focus momentarily vanished. It took just under 120 seconds for her to be broken to love, Svitolina bouncing back in style as she capitalised on her opponent’s slow second serves.
But Halep hit back – and hit back hard. Another break followed – Svitolina throwing away her serve with an unforced error – to take the match to 3-1.
By this stage the world No 7 was oozing confidence as she set about dictating proceedings. Svitolina was too willing to match Halep shot for shot - offering little creativity or variety - and it came at a cost. As each rally grew longer, you sensed it would be the Ukrainian who blinked first.
And so it proved in the sixth game, Halep deploying a sharp backhand winner to end another lengthy rally before moving the set to 5-1.
Svitolina provided some resistance in the following game but Halep eventually secured the hold on her sixth set point.
The second frame pointed to a change in course for this match. Having failed to do so at all in the first set, Svitolina twice held serve to suggest she was ready to put up a fight.
Indeed, the world No 8 looked re-energised, her shots far cleaner and penetrative in comparison to the lethargy she had displayed in her hitting at the beginning of this match.
But after being broken at 3-3, Svitolina’s resistance was swifly brought to an end. From there, Halep held her serve, sealing the game with an ace, before once again breaking her opponent to wrap up proceedings.
After a mightily impressive campaign, which has seen her grow from strength to strength with each passing match, the Romanian will now make her first Wimbledon final appearance as she bids to claim a second Grand Slam title.