Net Flicks: Snooker champion sends 'good luck' message to Simona Halep


Barbora Strycova, Williams' opponent on Thursday, will be playing in first major semifinal in her 53rd Grand Slam tournament, while Elina Svitolina will also be making her debut at this stage.

But Strycova, who says her granddad took her to see the Wimbledon trophies in the museum as a two-year-old, is not dwelling on that record or Williams' success here. As it is, the 33-year-old Strycova was the oldest first-time Grand Slam semifinalist in the professional era.

Williams was so much better beating Strycova 6-1, 6-2 in 59 minutes on day 10 than in her three-set struggle against Alison Riske in the quarters as to be nearly unrecognisable as the same player.

Romania's Simona Halep celebrates winning a point against Ukraine's Elina Svitolina in a Women's semifinal singles match on day ten of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London.

"It's really not about 24 or 23 or 25. I just really will try my best and I will fight as much as I can".

"I've had a lot of things happen to me at that particular tournament in general", Williams said. "I just needed to get it out of the way, put the business bun up and just get to business".

Halep recalibrated and won the final four games of the second set, winning the match. Not only is he picking the victor, he's also betting on how many sets it lasts.

The outcome ended Britain's hopes of a first women's singles champion here since Virginia Wade in 1977.

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Serena Williams, however, refused to join the list of illustrious departures and booked a 12 semifinal at the All England Club with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win over fellow American Alison Riske on Tuesday.

The Romanian triumphed in three sets - taking the third 6-0 - in the French Open quarter-finals in 2017 with Svitolina having held match point in the second. Halep got 70 percent of her first serves in play, saved four of her five break points and hit 26 winners to 16 unforced errors.

On Saturday, Williams will take on No. 7-seeded Simona Halep of Romania, a 6-1, 6-3 victor over No. 8 Elina Svitolina of Ukraine under a cloudy sky at Centre Court.

"I just need to ... relax and do what I can do", Williams said, referring again to her deep thoughts from the morning. "But now I feel stronger, mentally, facing her". At Flushing Meadows, she was outplayed by Naomi Osaka in a match that descended into chaos after Williams was docked a game for a heated argument with the chair umpire.

Simona Halep has admitted she does not understand snooker despite Mark Selby accounting for 50 per cent of the people she follows on Twitter.

The 37-year-old had barely played since the Australian Open in January after a niggling knee injury limited her court time and the rust was all too visible as she began her campaign at the All England Club.

"She played unbelievable today, " Svitolina said.

Considering Halep developed her baseline skills "on the sand and also in the water of the sea", it is perhaps unsurprising that she was initially considered something of a claycourt specialist. Now comes a tougher task: beating Williams.