Simona Halep: 'I didn't dare to think I would be among Wimbledon champions'

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Simona Halep: 'I didn't dare to think I would be among Wimbledon champions'

In the final of the last year's Wimbledon, the 7th seed Simona Halep defeated the seven-time champion Serena Williams 6-2, 6-2 in 56 minutes, earning her first crown at the All England Club after a flawless performance.

The Romanian was the player to beat in those two weeks, losing one set in seven encounters and toppling Victoria Azarenka, Cori Gauff and Elina Svitolina en route to the title clash against the tournament's legend and one of the best players ever.

Chasing the elusive 24th Major title, Serena had to settle with the runner-up prize for the second year in a row at Wimbledon. The American never found the rhythm against the opponent who barely put a foot wrong throughout the clash, finishing with 13 winners and three unforced errors and dropping only 12 points on serve!

On the other hand, Serena counted to 17 winners and 26 mistakes, unable to penetrate the rival and impose her shots as she did in the previous rounds, facing five break opportunities and getting broken four times to propel Simona towards the second Major title.

Serving at 76%, Halep delivered one good hold after another, mounting the pressure on Williams and outplaying her in every department with smart and measured tennis that secured her biggest trophy. Serena sprayed a forehand error in the first game to suffer a break.

She found herself 2-0 down when Simona held at love, allowing the Romanian to grab another break with a backhand down the line winner. Simona saved a break chance in game six and closed the opener with a service winner at 5-2, taking a significant lead after just 26 minutes.

Serena stayed in touch until 2-2 before a backhand error that pushed Simona in front.

Eager to lift the trophy as soon as possible, Simona landed a backhand down the line winner in the seventh game to open a 5-2 gap. Serving for the title in the next game, Halep held at love when Serena netted a forehand, celebrating the brightest moment of her career after a tough period in the previous 12 months due to injuries and lack of form, moving back inside the top-4.

Halep told BBC Sport that she didn't dare to think about winning Wimbledon one day, expressing her joy for keeping the trophy at least for another year. "It was a dream - although more for my parents! Every player dreams of winning Wimbledon, but I didn't have the courage to think I would be among them.

Winning the title was huge," Halep told BBC Sport. "My mother always said one day if I could play a final at Wimbledon, it would be great because I was at the highest level of tennis. I'm the Wimbledon champion for two years - I love that!

I have one more year to enjoy it more, it is huge. And I have received some towels, a cap and a T-shirt from Wimbledon - it made me feel like I'm playing this year. I was very stressed and I asked if I had to do it. They said it was up to me, but I said: 'No thanks.' I didn't want to fall over!"