Halep downs Svitolina to reach first Wimbledon final

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After 20 grueling minutes, the pair had already exchanged numerous lengthy rallies but registered just two games on the scoreboard.

The action and afternoon heat was too much for one spectator, who had to be helped out of Center Court — though the stoppage provided a welcome break for both players who were breathing deeply at the back of the court after another brutal exchange.

Svitolina blinked first, with Halep finally getting the break of serve at the third attempt, before the Ukrainian immediately broke back to love.

But from there No. 7 seed Halep — already a grand slam champion at the 2018 French Open — raced into the lead, wrapping up the rest of first set in the same time it took to play those first two games.

Svitolina, seeded eighth here at Wimbledon and playing in her first grand slam semifinal, put up more of a fight in the second set but was powerless against the Romanian’s thundering ground strokes.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Halep, who will now play in her fourth grand slam final, told the BBC. “I’m really excited — and also nervous — because of this (first Wimbledon final).

“It’s one of the best moments of my life, so I’m trying just to enjoy it as much as possible and be happy that I could go through to the final.”

Maybe a sign of the perfectionist she is — it’s a word coach Daniel Dobre has used to describe his student — Halep regularly remonstrated with her box after a missed shot, despite totally dominating proceedings for the majority of the match.

Perhaps already with an eye on Serena Williams as her opponent in the final, she knows those errors will not be forgiven.

But first Williams must overcome the Czech Republic’s Barbora Strycova to set up a showdown with Halep in Saturday’s final.



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