WIMBLEDON, England — Simona Halep made the most of her debut in the Wimbledon final.
The former world No. 1 women's player defeated seven-time champion Serena Williams on Saturday 6-2, 6-2, becoming the first Romanian to win at Wimbledon.
The match was over in a brisk 56 minutes.
For Williams, the loss was reminiscent of last year's final, when she was heavily favored to win before suffering a 6-3, 6-3 loss to Angelique Kerber.
"It was a little bit of deer in the headlights," said Williams, who has won just two of her last six appearances in Grand Slam finals. "Whenever a player plays that amazing, you just kind of have to take your nod on the head and congrats for all the hard work."
Coming into the match, Williams was 9-1 against Halep, her only loss in the round robin of the 2014 WTA Finals. However, Halep had pushed Williams to three sets in all three of their previous meetings in major championships.
Williams, who was looking to tie Margaret Court's record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles, has not won a major championship since the 2017 Australian Open. At 37 years and 291 days, Williams had a chance to become the oldest person to win a Grand Slam.
But the seventh-seeded Halep broke Williams' serve in the first game of the match and showed remarkable mobility in chasing down a slew of crosscourt shots.
Entering the final, Williams had dominated with her serve, recording the most aces (45) and highest velocity (122 mph) of any woman in the tournament. But that blistering serve failed to overwhelm Halep, the 2018 French Open winner.
In the run-up to the final, Williams played just one opponent ranked in the top 20 — No. 17 Julia Goerges.