By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) – Serena Williams powered through to her 11th Wimbledon final as she overwhelmed unseeded Czech Barbora Strycova in a brutal 6-1 6-2 victory on Centre Court on Thursday.
Clobbering huge serves and forehands, the veteran American was always in control as she set up a showdown with Romanian former world number one Simona Halep in Saturday’s final.
The 37-year-old Williams will become the oldest woman to contest a Grand Slam final in the professional era and victory will take her alongside Margaret Court’s record 24 singles majors.
Strycova, the oldest first-time Grand Slam semi-finalist at 33, boasts a tricky game that scrambled the mind of Britain’s Johanna Konta in the quarter-finals.
But seven-times Wimbledon champion Williams is made of much sterner stuff and simply bulldozed her way through her opponent’s lightweight resistance.
Strycova held for 1-1 in the first set but any notion that a contest would break out disappeared in the blink of an eye as she went 5-1 behind.
She had a chance to slow the Williams advance when she got to 0-40 on the 11th seed’s serve with the help of a netcord but Williams raised the tempo to reel off five points, ending the first set in 27 minutes with an ace.
Williams broke for 3-2 in the second set as Strycova dribbled an attempted drop shot into the net and again to move 5-2 ahead — Strycova emitting a piercing scream as she wafted a straightforward volley long.
The crowd were willing Strycova to hang in for a little longer and roared their approval when she showed great defensive skills to win the first point as Williams served for the match.
But there was to be no comeback. Williams fired down a huge serve on match point and had the simplest of forehands to stroke away and seal her place in the final.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)