Simona Halep produced an excellent performance to defeat Serena Williams to claim her maiden Wimbledon crown. The Romanian beat Williams in straight sets on centre court, earning the second Grand Slam title of her career. The result was a major breakthrough for Halep as it was only the second time that she had beaten the American, but the first time officially on the court after Williams withdrew from a semi-final contest at Indian Wells in 2015.
.@Simona_Halep is one of the most accomplished players in the game today.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) July 15, 2019
The 27-year-old now has the challenge of building off her success at the US Open where she will look to string together back-to-back triumphs. She will be one of the leading contenders for the crown, although it will take a strong effort to make another run at a Grand Slam. Defending champion Naomi Osaka will be standing in her way along with Sloane Stephens, Ashleigh Barty and Williams.
Halep is one of the leading contenders for the crown given the dominance of her performances at Wimbledon. The Romanian dropped only one set on her way to the title and that came in the second round against her compatriot Mihaela Buzarnescu. Halep held her composure throughout her run at the All England Club, including her triumph over crowd favourite Cori Gauff. The 15-year-old had stunned Venus Williams in the first round and made her way through to the fourth round, only to be brushed aside by Halep, despite the support of the crowd on Court One.
Halep carried that form forward, defeating Zhuang Shuai and Elina Svitolina before taking down Williams with relative ease in the final. The Romanian now arrives at Flushing Meadows with the weight of expectations after her victory. Tennis fans will be able to watch and bet on her progress now and in the future due to a partnership through Sportsradar and FanDuel, which will screen international tennis while the viewer can live bet the events on the app of the latter. Halep has been number one before during her career and has had to deal with the spotlight, but nothing quite raises a profile like winning Wimbledon.
One week on ?
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 20, 2019
The 27-year-old will be the player to beat in the draw, although her record at Flushing Meadows has been patchy to say the least. For the last two years on the bounce, Halep has crashed out in the first round by suffering defeats at the hands of Maria Sharapova and Kaia Kanepi. She did reach the semi-finals of the US Open in 2015 where her campaign was ended by a brilliant display from Flavia Pennetta, who would go on to win the tournament. Halep has seemingly been more comfortable on clay courts, winning the French Open in 2018, having previously reached the final on two occasions.
However, for Halep to become a complete player she will have to make deeper surges into tournaments on hard courts. The challenge is there for her to capitalise on her good form to make a statement to the rest of the players on the tour by winning the US Open. With Serena Williams seemingly out of form in finals, there is an opportunity there to fill her void as the top female player in the sport.