Serena Williams advances to Wimbledon women’s singles final to face Simona Halep

Serena Williams returns to Barbora Strycova in a women’s semifinal singles match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London on Thursday. (AP photo)

WIMBLEDON, England — Hours before her Wimbledon semifinal, Serena Williams spent some time deep in thought and arrived at a couple of conclusions.

For one thing, she shouldn’t focus too much on trying to raise her Grand Slam title total to 24, a number achieved by just one other player in tennis history. And for another, she needs to stay calm on the court.

With that in mind, Williams went out Thursday and made it all look so easy, overwhelming Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-2 in 59 minutes to once again put herself on the verge of an eighth championship at the All England Club and major No. 24 overall.

“It’s really not about 24 or 23 or 25. It’s really just about going out there and giving my best effort, no matter what. No matter what I do, I will always have a great career,” said Williams, who at 37 is the oldest woman to reach a Grand Slam final in the professional era. “Like, I just kind of let it go this morning.”

On Saturday, she will take on No. 7-seeded Simona Halep of Romania, a 6-1, 6-3 winner over No. 8 Elina Svitolina of Ukraine under cloudy skies.

It’s the 11th final at the All England Club for Williams, the first for Halep, whose only major trophy came at the French Open last year.