Tiger Woods's remarkable Masters win this year at the age of 43 serves as an inspiration to Serena Williams, who is just three years shy of 40 herself, she said after reaching her 11th Wimbledon final on Thursday.
But from there No. 7 seed Halep - already a grand slam champion at the 2018 French Open - raced into the lead, wrapping up the rest of first set in the same time it took to play those first two games.
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.
The 11th-seeded American, who lost in last year's final, will face Simona Halep in Saturday's championship match.More news: Amazon India to offer Prime membership at half price to these users
That has left her Grand Slam total at 23, a record for the professional era and one fewer than Margaret Court accumulated while playing part of her career against amateur competition.
Halep is 1-3 in career grand slam final appearances and this is her first shot to win Wimbledon.
"Instead of having nothing to lose, I feel like I have things to lose, but I also have nothing to lose".
She fired down a huge serve on match point and when Strycova clawed it back she stroked away the simplest of forehands to seal her place in the final.More news: "Miraculous" Escape For Driver As Cactus Crashes Into Car
"Looking back, to even be in those two finals last year was unbelievable", the 37-year-old told reporters. I have a great job and I am still pretty good at it. "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". Ahead 2-1 in the first set while Strycova served at 30-all, Williams sailed a backhand return way long and let out a cry of "Aaah!" The second cost her a point, and the third cost her a game.
The runaway was on: Williams seized seven points in a row and 16 of 20 to close out that set. Serena hopes to win her first grand slam title since the 2017 Australian Open and her 24th grand slam title overall. So was her body language, including when Halep looked up at her coach, yelled and extended an arm in the first set's final game. She is the first Romanian woman to play in a Wimbledon final.
There was also excitement at the All England Club for a major sporting showdown taking place in Birmingham, where England beat Australia to reach the Cricket World Cup final.
"I fought hard to win this match and I was strong mentally and physically and had the right tactics". But once Halep established her dominance by breaking Svitolina's serve in each and every one of the Ukrainian's service games, the former world number one took over. Now comes a tougher task: beating Williams. We will see what is going to happen. "I've had some big ones", said Williams, whose fastest delivery so far stands at 122 miles per hour.More news: Steam Labs Lets You Test Valve Experiments Like Machine Learning