The Wimbledon fortnight came to a close this past weekend as an exciting two weeks of tennis in London was capped off by a first-time Wimbledon champion, and an all-time match between two of the sport’s greatest players ever.
On Saturday, Romania’s Simona Halep captured her second career Grand Slam and her first Wimbleon title as she defeated Serena Williams 6-2, 6-2 in just 56 minutes.
“It feels good,” said Halep. “I wanted this badly. When I started the tournament, I talked to the people from the locker room that my dream is to become a member here. So today it’s real and I’m really happy.”
Halep played like a woman possessed, breaking the 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams in the first game of the match and never looking back. In all, she converted on four of her five break opportunities and saved the only one she faced, and committed just three unforced errors in the entire contest.
“I’m very sure that was the best match of my life, and also on grass against her is never easy,” Halep added. “So I’m really proud of my game today and the whole tournament.”
On Sunday, four-time champion Novak Djokovic took on eight-time champion Roger Federer, and the two put on one of the best matches in the sport’s history.
Competing for nearly five hours, Djokovic won the 16th major title of his career with a 7-6(1), 1-6, 7-6(4), 4-6, 13-2(3) win.
“In these kinds of matches, you work for, you live for, they give sense and they give value to every minute you spend on the court training and working to get yourself in this position and play the match with one of your greatest rivals of all-time,” said Djokovic. “I’m just obviously thrilled and overjoyed with emotions to be sitting here in front of you as a winner. It was one shot away from losing the match, as well. This match had everything. It could have easily gone his way.”
After trading sets through the first four, Djokovic broke Federer for 4-2 in the deciding fifth set, only to have Federer earn the break back, and then break again for 8-7. But as Federer served for the championship, with two match points on his serve, Djokovic fought both of them off to break back and even the score at 8-8.
The two held from there until 12-2 when with the new rule at Wimbledon, they headed into a tiebreak to decide things. It was Djokovic who limited his errors and took advantage of Federer’s, as the Swiss’ forehand pushed a couple of balls wide which allowed Djokovic to go ahead 4-1. A few points later, Djokovic closed things out and claimed his fifth Wimbledon title.
“If this was not the most thrilling and exciting finals I was ever a part of, then definitely it’s top two or three in my career against one of the great players of all-time—Roger,” said Djokovic. “I respect him a lot. Unfortunately, in these kinds of matches, one of the players has to lose and, as Roger said, we both had our chances. It’s quite unreal to be two match points down and to come back.”
Djokovic’s 16 major titles moves him within four of Federer on the all-time list, and he still trails Nadal (18) for second most.