Chasing 24th grand slam title, Serena targets 'calm' space

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 13: Simona Halep of Romania shows off the trophy after winning the Ladies' Singles final against Serena Williams of The United States during Day twelve of The Championships - Wimbledon 2019 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 13, 2019 in London, England. Both players were dominant in their semifinal matches, with Williams beating Barbara Strycova 6-2, 6-1 and Halep knocking off Elina Svitolina 6-1, 6-3.

It took Halep just 26 minutes to take the first set. Williams is moving well and is undoubtedly more confident than she was the last time we saw her compete, at the French Open in May.

The Romanian had lost her first three grand slam finals but, since teaming up with Darren Cahill, she is a reformed competitor.

In a delightful interview on the court, Halep said "never" when asked if she had ever played a better match than that.

Williams will play for her eighth Wimbledon title.

"Yeah, I had to get to those finals, looking back, to even be in those two finals a year ago was unbelievable", she said.

One of the main reasons why Halep had to wait so long to lift a major title was her relative lack of power when compared to the game's other big stars.

As for Simona. she's on a roll.

"I'm desperate to win Wimbledon more than to stop her", she said.

"I have worked hard for this moment".

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Going for No. 24, Serena Williams will face Simona Halep in the Wimbledon final.

"Just got to keep fighting", Williams said, "and just keep trying".

Halep admitted she'd been intimidated by Williams in the past so made a decision to be aggressive from the outset and it was an approach that paid dividends as she reeled off 13 winners. "So today it's real and I'm really happy".

"I was a little bit of a deer in the headlights".

"I feel like I'm just really on this journey of just doing the best that I can", Williams said Saturday, "playing the best that I can when I can". "I'm literally just getting started". Considering how she's had to miss time due to injuries and the birth of her daughter - and the fact that she will likely rise after her performance - this is as impressive of a stretch as any for her.

She will, however, know better than to underestimate Halep, who is the highest-seeded player left in the tournament.

The 27-year-old broke serve in the opening game and raced into a 4-0 lead.

However, the motivation for Halep was far greater as she focused more about the title than who her opponent was.

"I'm in a good position, honestly".

That was the proud assertion on Saturday of Dylan Alcott, who is three-quarters of the way to a calendar Grand Slam, 50 years after fellow Australian Rod Laver completed the sweep. "I always play well when I have emotions".