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Williams whistles into Wimbledon final

FINAL DATE: Serena Williams

FIRED UP Serena Williams‘ chances of finally bagging her record-equalling 24th Grand Slam Singles crown took a step closer after whistling 6-1 6-2 past Barbora Strycova on Thursday (Jul 11).

The legendary American ace, a clear favourite with the Wimbledon Centre Court crowd, overpowered the Czech veteran to make it four wins in as many meetings against the 33-year-old and book her 12th Singles final at SW19.

In a repeat of their 2012 showdown at the All England Club, Williams methodically picked off the points to rattle off a sparkling semi-final success in just an hour.

Strycova, who had never reached the last four at a major before, was expected to give Williams more of a match having scythed through the draw with improvised yet fluid displays - which included cruising past British no.1 Johanna Konta.

But unseeded Strycova, who before the contest was looking for inspiration from Williams' shock 2015 US Open semi-final to Italian Roberta Vinci, played second fiddle as Williams showed the gulf in class.

Yet 37-year-old Williams, who has repeated her annual knack of lifting her game at the All England Club, constantly rattled off games with ease to stun Strycova with a string of aces and winners.

A steady yet tentative initial start, in front of an array of celebrities, saw both players set up a baseline battle. It was Williams who drew first blood by breaking in the fourth game and set the tone for the rest of the encounter.

On a charge Williams held her serve with ease, to race into a 4-1 lead and pile the pressure on Strycova. And she stormed away with the next game for a double break after a whirlwind 20 minutes in a one-sided affair.

Suddenly Williams found herself facing three break points, but was on fire to survive the scare and move ahead with a deft angled drop volley. Williams polished off the set by thumping down an ace to brush aside her feeble opponent.

Strycova, who had accounted for four seeded players in her wondrous Wimbledon run, slightly improved in the second set and held her serve twice. Only she was broken in the fifth game the writing was on the wall.

Williams started to show signs that her recent knee injury was playing up. But despite this concern she was in commanding form against the Czech underdog, strolling towards victory without the need to serve and volley.

Fast forward two more games for Williams and, serving for the match, she continued to lurk on the baseline and execute explosive power drives. A simple match point was wrapped up with a serve that her opponent just managed to get a racquet to, and Williams hammered home the ball with a simple cross court shot to continue her magnificent run.

It was the combination of confidence and power that bamboozled Strycova to edge Williams closer to an eighth Wimbledon Singles title.

Now Romanian Simona Halep, a 6-1 6-3 victor over Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, stands between Williams and her historic shot at trying to match Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles.

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