Romania has found a new sporting idol as Simona Halep produced one of the most dominating performance at the iconic Centre Court of the All England Club to clinch her maiden Wimbledon title. Playing her first Grand Slam final since conquering the Parisian red-dirt last spring, Halep remained calm and focussed about the task to deny the legendary Serena Williams a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title.

The 27-year-old Romanian stunned the 23-time Grand Slam champion in straight sets 6-2, 6-2 to get her hands around the prestigious ladies singles title. Halep, who was the No.7 seed at Wimbledon 2019 secured the victory in just 55 minutes on Centre Court. With this defeat, Serena’s long quest for the elusive 24th majors crown has been stretched further.

In the first set, the former world no.1 (Halep) played some of her best tennis of the tournament as she raced out to a 4-0 lead in no time. She backed her powerful groundstrokes with some sparkling defensive play. Williams soon got her footing as she cranked in some powerful first serves, but Halep was undeterred, serving out the second on her second opportunity.

It was a pitch-perfect match for Halep, who struck just three unforced errors in two sets – and 13 winners – and converted four of five break point opportunities while allowing Williams just one break point chance on her own serve.

Halep had beaten Williams just once in 10 previous encounters – and the American avenged that 2014 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore round-robin loss in the final – but all three of their Grand Slam clashes had gone the distance, including a three-set thriller at this year’s Australian Open.

Gracious in the defeat, Williams congratulated Halep on the title, “She really played out of her mind,” she said. “Whenever a player plays that amazing you just have to take your hat off and give her a nod.”

Halep, charm and joy personified, agreed she had never played a better match. “I had nerves,” she said on court. “My stomach was not very well before the match. But I had no time for emotions and just came out and tried my best.

“It was my mum’s dream when I was about 10. And the day came and my mum is here to see it. I have worked a lot to change a little bit my game to play on grass. I started to feel this year when the ball comes to me I knew what to do with it. I can’t wait to come back here.”