Serena Williams has proven yet again she is one of the greatest tennis players in history after today securing a place in an 11th Wimbledon final.
The 37-year-old also becomes the oldest woman to contest a grand slam final in the professional era.
Williams, who already has seven Wimbledon titles to her name, is seeking a record-equalling 24th major title win which would take her level with Australian Margaret Court.
She now faces Romanian Simona Halep in Saturday’s final after demolishing Czech Barbora Strycova – who defeated Brit Jo Konta – in straight sets in a brutal match that lasted just 59 minutes.
Fans on social media were quick to praise the mother-of-one for her success, with one writing ‘You go Queen, big congratulations!!’
Serena Williams is pictured celebrating after booking her place in her 11th Wimbledon final
Serena Williams, 37, has become the oldest woman to contest a grand slam final in the professional era
Williams, pictured left and right after beating Czech opponent Barbora Strycova, said cheekily after the match ‘I’m still pretty good at what I do, I guess’
Watching from the Royal Box today were: 1. Princess Michael of Kent 2. Phillip Brook 3, 4. John and Norma Major 5. Gill Brook 6. Dame Maggie Smith 7, 8. Claire and Caroline Foy 9, 10. David and Sandra Beckham 11, 12. Holly and Richard Branson 13. Cliff Richard 14. James Norton 15, 16. Professor Toope and Paula Rosen 17. Kristen Tomassi 18. Philippe Baijot 19, 20. Jim Courier and Susanna Lingman 21, 22. Surinder and Sunita Arora 23. Charles Trippet 24. Barbara Schett-Eagle 25. Chris Evans 26. Pam Shriver 27. Craig Tiley – CEO of Tennis Australia, former SA player 28. Daniela Hantuchova
Famous faces in the box including John Major, Claire Foy, David Beckham and James Norton rose to applaud Serena after her win
Serena Williams celebrates after beating Czech Republic’s Barbora Strycova during their women’s singles semi-final match
Fans have been taking to social media to praise the tennis star (above and below) who is now seeking a record-equalling 24th major title win
While another said: ‘She is the greatest tennis champion I’ve ever seen and should be in the discussion for greatest athlete (male or female) ever.’
And another wrote: ‘Today was my niece’s first time watching tennis queen Serena Williams kill it on the Wimbledon court. She was amazed by Serena’s performance.
‘What a great example she is for young girls all over the world.’
The quest to equal Margaret Court’s record tally of major wins weighed heavily on Williams in her defeats in last year’s Wimbledon and US Open finals.
Her defeat to Naomi Osaka in New York was also marred by an on-court row with umpire Carlos Ramos, who docked her a game and was branded a ‘thief’ by the veteran.
Her last grand slam victory was at the Australian Open in 2017, before she took a year out of the game to have daughter Alexis Olympia with Reddit co-founder husband Alexis Ohanian.
Williams has been back to her best this year and has been cheered on by a supportive crowd, often including celebrity friends such as the Duchess of Sussex, who watched her on Court One last week.
There’s now a chance Meghan could return to watch her friend compete in the final on Saturday.
During a press conference after the match, Williams was asked about her quest to equal Margaret Court’s record tally of major wins.
She said: ‘You know I thought about it this morning and I actually didn’t think about it since.
‘It’s really not about 24, 23 or 25. It’s really just about going out there and giving my best effort no matter what.
‘I will always have a great career. I just kind of let it go this morning and I feel really calm about it.’
Referring to her defeats in 2018, she said: ‘Looking back to even be in those two finals last year is unbelievable.
‘Now I’m in a different place. I’m more calm. Instead of having nothing to lose, I feel like I have things to lose but I also have nothing to lose. I’m in the middle.’
Looking ahead to the final on Sunday, she added: ‘I have a great job and I love what I do. And I’m still pretty good at what I do, I guess.’
Serena Williams talks with Czech Republic’s Barbora Strycova after beating her during their women’s singles semi-final match
During a press conference after the match, Williams was asked about her quest to equal Margaret Court’s record tally of major wins. She said it wasn’t winning ’24, 23 or 25′
Williams (pictured during the game) now faces Romanian Simona Halep in Saturday’s final after demolishing Czech Barbora Strycova
Strycova, pictured, was swept aside in straight sets in less than an hour by the American
Williams, pictured during the match, will now compete for her 24th grand slam title
Fans praised Williams for her return to tennis after a year out to have her baby. And one even commented on how she was a ‘fabulous mixed-doubles partner to Andy Murray’ (above and below)
Dozens have praised Williams for how she returned to the game after taking a year out to have her child.
One fan wrote on Twitter: ‘You make us all proud. For all the mothers out there. Child birth just makes us more determined.’
While another said: ‘Congrats to the legendary Serena Williams on making another Wimbledon final. This time she’s winning it for the first time since she ha her baby.’
Williams had also been playing in the mixed doubles with Andy Murray to get some match practice after struggling with fitness in recent months and missing tournaments.
Referring to a recurring knee problem after the match, she added she was very happy with her performance considering her lack of game time.
She said: ‘It’s good, especially after my year. It definitely feels good to be back in the final.
‘It’s [her knee] definitely a lot better, I just needed some matches. I know I’m improving and I just needed to feel good and then I can do what I do best which is play tennis.’
Williams believes her mixed doubles partnership with Andy Murray helped her get so far.
The serve has been nearly flawless and the groundstrokes as brutal as ever, but her occasional forays to the net – a feature of her doubles matches with Murray – have also paid off handsomely.
Williams admitted: ‘I promise you, when I hit a volley I was like, ‘Would I have made that if I didn’t play doubles’? I don’t think so.
‘I kept telling you guys I thought the doubles would help me. I really think it did. I don’t attack the net that much. I tried to and I want to.
‘I know when I play doubles here with Venus, it definitely helps my singles game. I was really keen to play mixed here.
‘I really feel like it helped me, not just for today and this event, but hopefully it will help me in the future.’
David Beckham, left, was among the big names watching Serena play on Centre Court today
Musician Sir Cliff Richard, 78, who is a regular at Wimbledon, was also on Centre Court
The Crown star, 35, appeared in good spirits as she shared a box full of sweets with the former footballer, 44, and his mother Sandra
David and his mother Sandra stopped to chat to Cliff Richard who was also sat in the Royal Box during the annual tennis event
A packed-out crowd watched the clash on Centre Court, pictured, this afternoon
Halep, of Romania, was not intimidated by facing Williams however, and after her win over Ukrainian Elina Svitolina and said she relished the challenge.
She added: ‘I respect a lot what she has done and what she’s doing.
‘But now I feel stronger, mentally, facing her. We will see what is going to happen. It’s just a big challenge for me.’
Williams is now looking ahead to the final on Saturday, which will kick-off at 2pm on Centre Court. She will be looking to reach a total of 24 grand slam wins.
Williams has been this close to adding to her title total before.
In 2018, her first season back on tour after the birth of her daughter, Olympia, Williams reached the finals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open but lost each time.
That has left her Grand Slam total at 23, a record for the professional era that she established when she won the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant – but one fewer than Margaret Court accumulated while playing part of her career against amateur competition.
At the All England Club, she was beaten by Angelique Kerber.
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.
She said in a first-person essay she wrote for Harper’s Bazaar that she met with a therapist and wrote to Osaka to apologize for the whole episode.