Serena Williams loses in straight sets in Wimbledon final

Simona Halep- Wimbledon 2019- Getty

Even while Halep thoroughly outplayed her at Wimbledon, Williams' dominant strength was on display between unforced errors.

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The Centre Court crowd was typically vocal in its support for Williams, 37, and she recognizes the chances to see the likes of her and other tennis greats like Roger Federer are decreasing as they get older.

Halep weathered the squall, then reeled off the last five games of what she described as the match of her life. And she played pretty much perfectly. The greatest example: Halep recorded the critical go-ahead break in the fifth game of the second set when, after chasing down a few heavy Williams blasts, she hooked a desperation crosscourt shot that left Williams with an easy backhand down-the-line putaway.

Williams had been poised to win her first title as a mother and equal the record for Grand Slam women's wins - now held by Margaret Court with 24 titles.

"I never played a better match", Halep said after the 56-minute Wimbledon final, as quoted by AFP. That was Slam trophy No. 23, breaking a tie with Steffi Graf for the most in the professional era.

Williams has struggled with a knee injury this season, but after seeing a specialist in France last month says she is fit again.

"I was a little bit of a deer in the headlights".

Williams also lost in straight sets against Angelique Kerber in the Wimbledon final a year ago, and against Naomi Osaka at the U.S. Open last September.

Williams won her last grand slam in Australia in 2017 while pregnant, and after maternity leave she reached the final at Wimbledon and the US Open past year, losing to Naomi Osaka in NY.

Humble and grounded, Halep had already showed incredible resolve to win the 2018 Roland Garros title having lost all three of her previous Slam finals.

"Just gotta keep fighting and just keep trying". Or that Williams soundly beat Halep later at that same tournament.

"That's kind of how I've been in my whole career".

A look at the data from those head to head matches gives insight into why Halep has struggled - she's holding just 60% compared to Williams' 80%, which is a pretty huge gap in a head to head series.

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She has said the mixed doubles she played with Andy Murray helped on that front.

She tracked down everything, as is her wont.

"It's different now because in my 20s, I'm always expected to win, but it's a different circumstance for me", Williams said.

"She decided to make an incredible effort to come back".

That allowed her to, if not exactly take control of the points, at least meet most of Williams' returns with her feet planted and ready to rally.

It seemed scarcely believable when she served the first ace of the match to make it 4-0.

But the overall reaction was positive, with many congratulating Halep on her first Wimbledon triumph.

Williams, in stark contrast, came out looking a bit tight, short-arming shots and accumulating nine unforced errors before conjuring up a single victor.

Williams would place a hand on her hip.

"I didn't think at all against who I play".

Her coach said he will have to come up with something inspirational to say to her before this one.

But the comeback never came. "Wake up Serena" someone yelled as Halep served for the first set at 5-2.

Halep only had been as far as the semifinals once at Wimbledon until now. "It was one of my motivations before this tournament".

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