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LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 08: Ashleigh Barty of Australia celebrates her victory over Angelique Kerber of Germany in the semi-finals of the ladies singles during Day Ten of The Championships – Wimbledon 2021 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 08, 2021 in London, England. (Photo : TPN/Getty Images)
A new Wimbledon champion will be crowned in the women’s singles after Ashleigh Barty and Karolina Pliskova booked their spots in the final on Thursday. It will be the first Wimbledon women’s singles final featuring two first-time finalists at the All England Club since 1977 when Britain’s Virginia Wade defeated Dutchwoman Betty Stove.
Barty sealed her place in the championship match with a convincing 6-3, 7-6 (3) win over Germany’s Angelique Kerber in the semifinals. The world no. 1 needed just one hour and 27 minutes to record the straight-sets win as she became the first Australian to reach the women’s final since her idol Evonne Goolagong lifted her second Wimbledon title at the All England Club in 1980.
Barty dominates Kerber to reach first Wimbledon final
Barty started the game like a house on fire, racing to a quick 3-0 lead and eventually winning the first set in just 34 minutes. Kerber, who entered this contest on a 10-game winning streak, battled back in the second set and took a 5-2 lead at one stage. The German could not maintain the momentum, though, as Barty got a break back at 5-4 before taking the second set into a tie-break.
It was all Barty from there as she grabbed the first six points in the tie-break. Even though Kerber captured the next three points to pull to within 6-3, Barty ended the proceedings with the following point as Kerber committed an unforced error, delivering a backhand into the net.
It has been a remarkable run by Barty, whose Wimbledon participation was put into question at one stage after her withdrawal from the French Open due to a hip injury. She is now just one win away from emulating the feat of Goolagong, who famously won here 50 years ago. Barty, who has not lost a set since the opening round, was emotional after the match, saying, “I get the chance on Saturday to live out a total dream.”
Pliskova outlasts Sabalenka in three tough sets
Standing in her way in the finals is Karolina Pliskova. The Czech eighth seed battled back from a set down to defeat Aryna Sabalenka, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4. Pliskova needed one hour and 53 minutes to record the upset over Sabalenka and reach her second Grand Slam final. The last time she reached this stage was back in 2016 at the US Open, where she lost a tough three-setter to Kerber.
It was a grueling encounter between the two protagonists as they delivered hard-hitting groundstrokes throughout the three-set clash. Interestingly, it was Sabalenka who had the advantage over Pliskova in terms of winners (38-32) and aces (18-13) in the match. What doomed her chances, though, was her failure to create breakpoint chances.
Sabalenka only had one breakpoint opportunity the entire match, and that came on the final point of the opening set when Pliskova hit a double fault. Pliskova, on the other hand, converted two of her ten breakpoint chances.
Pliskova was ecstatic in her post-match interview, saying, “Coming into this tournament, the dream was to make the second week, of course, because I was not in [a Grand Slam] second week for a while. Never I thought about maybe going into the final.” The dream lives on for Pliskova, who is now just a victory away from winning her first Grand Slam title.
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