Ashleigh Barty became the first world No. 1 to reach Wimbledon Championships final in five years after she defeated 2018 champion Angelique Kerber 6-3, 7-6(3) in the semi-finals on Thursday.
In the final, she will take on Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova, who overcame Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in three sets, coming back from first set defeat to win 5.7, 6-4,6-4 in nearly two hours.
Ashleigh, who will lead the Australian tennis contingent at the Tokyo Olympics this month, took an hour and 26 minutes to prevail over the German opponent. She came back from a break down at 5-3 in the second set to seal the win.
The Aussie committed more double faults – 4 against 3 – but it was her power-packed game and high percentage of wins on first service that carried her through.
She fired eight aces against none by Angelique and won 88 per cent of points on first serve. Ashleigh also converted two of the five break-points.
This is Ashleigh’s best finish at Wimbledon. She has won only one Grand Slam singles title before – the 2019 French Open.
The other semi-final was a shootout between two powerful hitters and Karolina overcame Aryna with some precise play in the second and third set. The Czech star missed a lot of chances in the first set loss. She tightened her game in the second and third to capitalise on the opportunities.
She broke her rival’s serve at crucial points and sealed victory. But it was tough encounter and could have gone against her if she had not kept her nerves.
“It’s amazing to be in the final. It’s an incredible achievement. It was an amazing match from both of us. I had so many chances in the first set and got a bit frustrated, but she was serving unbelievable. A lot of credit to her, but super happy that I managed to find the way to win.