Serena Williams was denied a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title as Simona Halep checked the script then duly tore it to shreds at the All England Club.
Halep triumphed 6-2, 6-2 in 56 minutes here, becoming the first Romanian to win Wimbledon with one of the greatest performances seen in an SW19 final. Upon winning, Halep collapsed to her knees on Centre Court. This saw the 27-year-old take her second Grand Slam title, while Williams will remain on 23.
Williams was looking to equal Margaret Court but she was never allowed a foothold in this final. ‘Never,’ Halep said when asked if she had ever played better than that by Sue Barker on the BBC.
‘I had nerves. My stomach was not very well. But I knew there was no time for emotions. ‘It feels unbelievable. It is something so special and I will never forget this day.’ Despite the millions watching at home, Halep appeared relaxed and ready before this final as she stood smiling outside of the locker room. With a double break, she led 4-0 inside 11 minutes.
Watched on by her friend Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, Williams got on the board in the next game. At the break, she started reading notes while coach Patrick Mouratoglou watched on. Whatever was on those notes, they would not help with some of the shots being played by Halep.
The Romanian could not be stopped in this first set. She took it 6-2 in 26 minutes.
It was at the 2005 Australian Open the last time Williams came from behind to win a Grand Slam final.
The American started to show her anger at her performance so far. Halep withstood the barrage at the start of the second set then broke Williams when the American fired the simplest of forehands at the net long.
She was not satisfied with the one break, however.
Halep made it a double, leaving her to serve out the set. In fitting with the theme of the match, she made no mistakes.
Halep was the Wimbledon champion, and Williams will remain on 23 Grand Slams.