When it comes to me previewing a tournament I always say the same about Simona Halep, see how the first couple of rounds go.
This is not a criticism but a mark of respect for Halep’s game. I like that Halep feels her way into a tournament and a challenge early on is usually good for her when it gets to the latter stages.
Throughout her time at Wimbledon in 2019 she took her game to another level every time she stepped onto the court. It was her fellow Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu who caused some issues early on but she came through it.
The standout performance from Simona was how she played against Serena. I was torn on who I wanted to win having followed both throughout their careers but I was blown away by her performance.
Halep set her stall out immediately, she hit the ball deep and opened up the court with her forehand, it was borderline perfection from the Romanian.
Halep painted the lines for fun with her winners but with her it isn’t always about winners but the groundwork she puts into winning a point.
It was at 2-0 in the first set where the alarm bells began to ring for Serena, the American played some beautiful groundstrokes which would usually result in winners against most but Halep really stepped it up. A running forehand which pretty much painted the Williams baseline and then an lung-busting run from the Romanian to get to the American’s slice and drill a backhand winner cross-court on the run was out of this world.
I’ve put together a collection of her forehand and backhand winners from the final which you can see below.
The theme here is the corners of the court, Halep didn’t give Serena a hope with a majority of them but she had to open up the court somehow and that was with her running forehand.
I have also added a lovely pink arrow to the court highlighting forehands from Simona Halep whilst defending (on the run) against Serena Williams but that weren’t winners.
Her court coverage as we know is second to none but going into the Halep forehand is dangerous hence why as the match progressed Serena tried to explore her defensive backhand slice more but by then Halep was able to dictate her own defence and continued to find joy off her forehand.
It was simply impeccable hitting from Simona Halep, the whole match from her was pretty much a highlights reel and the angles she produce on the run was a delight to watch.
Is this something you can teach? It looks so simple but the controlled movement and hitting is relentless.
This for me is a great tennis memory, over the years we have seen great performances especially in a major final, this for me topped the lot.