Simona Halep torpedoed Serena Williams's latest bid to capture a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam on Saturday when she stormed to a sensational victory in a 56-minute Wimbledon final.
The 27-year-old Romanian captured her second career major with a 6-2, 6-2 victory adding a first Wimbledon — the first for her country in both men's and women's singles — to her 2018 Roland Garros triumph.
Defeat for 37-year-old Williams, a seven-time Wimbledon champion who won the last of her 23 Slam titles at the 2017 Australian Open, meant her attempt to equal Margaret Court's all-time record for major wins was put back on ice until at least the US Open.
Williams was undone by 26 unforced errors to Halep's two.
Williams may have kept Halep waiting to go on court but if she hoped that would upset her opponent it did quite the opposite.
Indeed the Halep fan who burst into song — waving a Romanian scarf from the 2015 Rugby World Cup — singing "We love you Simona, we do!" served to give her the boost to rattle Williams from the start.
A flashing forehand cross-court set the tone and she broke her in the first game.
She broke again to lead 3-0 — things clearly not going Williams's way when a Halep shot clipped the net and went over but the American's shot also clipped the net but failed to go over.
Already 3-0 down after eight minutes, Williams was completely at sea and by the time Halep served to lead 4-0 Williams had won just six points.
She finally got on the board with her next service game but Halep had little trouble in sealing the set which included another remarkable point from the Romanian.
The 27-year-old raced to retrieve an incredible get which sneaked over the net and Williams was only able to put her shot into the net.
Williams — who has let slip opportunities to equal Court's record in last year's Wimbledon and US Open finals — appeared to at last get fired up in the first game of the second set.
Halep rubbed in her superiority to break her again for 5-2 — two powerful serves earlier in the game had Williams saying why was I not able to do this earlier — and took the match and the title with aplomb with the first of her three match points.
She sank to her knees a broad smile on her face before rising to hug Williams.
Here's how Twitter reacted to Halep's first Wimbledon title:
Billie Jean King congratulates the new Queen of Wimbledon
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) July 13, 2019
Halep played perfect tennis against GOAT on tennis' grandest stage
Where the French Open always felt inevitable for Halep, #Wimbledon feels like the dream come true: perfect tennis against the greatest of all time on the sport's biggest stage. — ツ (@DKTNNS) July 13, 2019
All praise to Halep. Three unforced errors. Playing the match of your life IN the match of your life #Wimbledon
— Jon Wertheim (@jon_wertheim) July 13, 2019
From one Romanian sporting champion to another
— Nadia Comaneci (@nadiacomaneci10) July 13, 2019
Halep preventing Serena from winning her 24th Grand Slam title
Halep met the Duchess of Cambridge...
— Tennis Photos (@tennis_photos) July 13, 2019
But not before almost walking past her!
I'd imagine the royal family should consider themselves lucky to meet Simona Halep, not the other way around #Wimbledon
— Gaurav Kalra (@gauravkalra75) July 13, 2019
Halep is Romania's first Wimbledon champion
Halep's post-match interview was funny as hell!
Huge @Simona_Halep now. First of all what a performance in a final that was but her interview was my favourite part. So funny
— Niall Horan (@NiallOfficial) July 13, 2019
With inputs from AFP
Updated Date: Jul 13, 2019 20:59:24 IST