Ashleigh Barty clinches Wimbledon title with hard-fought win over Karolina Pliskova

Top seed Ashleigh Barty secured her second Grand Slam title and her first at the grass-court Grand Slam with a three-set win over Karolina Pliskova.

Ashleigh Barty lifts her Wimbledon tropy; Credit: [email protected]

World No.1 Ashleigh Barty won her second Grand Slam title, and first at Wimbledon, with a closely-contested 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 victory over No.8 seed Karolina Pliskova in one hour and 55 minutes. As a result of the hard-fought win, Barty is the first Australian woman to win the Venus Rosewater Dish since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1980, and the first woman to win Wimbledon as the top seed since Serena Williams in 2016. Seven-time major champion Goolagong Cawley was the first Indigenous Australian to win a Grand Slam. Barty, the 2011 girls’ champion, is also the third player in the Open Era to follow up a junior Wimbledon title with a senior title. She joins Ann Jones, Martina Hingis, and Amelie Mauresmo on that list.

“It was the most incredible feeling I think I’ve ever experienced on a tennis court,” Ashleigh Barty, who won the French Open in 2019, said in her post-match press conference. “There was certainly disbelief. I think I’ve worked so hard my whole career with my team and with people that mean the most to me to try and achieve my goals and my dreams. To be able to do that today was incredible.”

Fast start by Ashleigh Barty

It is the first Wimbledon final to go to three sets since 2012. Barty got off to a dream start, winning the first 14 points and four games in a row. The Australian started the proceedings with a flurry of unreturnable serves. Aggressive forehand winners and backhand slices were too much for Pliskova to handle. The Czech, who was struggling to get into the match rhythm, did not help her cause by double-faulting to go down a double break.

The World No.1 broke again to lead 5-1 and eventually served it out at the second go. Buoyed by the momentum, the Australian was expected to run away with the contest, but the Czech player had a different plan. Pliskova came back strongly in the second set, matching Barty toe-to-toe. This approach made it extremely difficult for anyone to gain an advantage in the match.

Pliskova nearly threw it away, with a pair of double faults and forehand errors to fall behind 1-3. Ashleigh Barty returned the favour immediately, with a double fault and errant forehands to hand the break back. At 5-5, the World No.1 broke from 40-0 down due to her remarkable defence. Serving for the title, Barty let the advantage slip, which soon proved costly. Pliskova surged through the ensuing tiebreak to bag the set.

Karolina Pliskova was contesting her second Grand Slam final after losing the title match against Angelique Kerber in the 2016 US Open. Back then, she came from a set down to take the match into a decider, however, the final outcome turned out to be the same on both occasions.

Barty sweeps away the final set

Pliskova struggled to get back into the match after one loose service game at the beginning of the third set. Despite doing her best to fight back, the Czech was not able to make up for the lost ground. Serving for the title a second time, Barty again had difficulties in closing out the match. She went down a break point, but this time she managed to save it. A seventh ace of the day set up her first championship point before she sealed the victory after Pliskova netted a backhand.

Barty dropped to her knees in tears but somehow managed to get back on her feet to congratulate her valiant opponent before applauding the fans for their support. The title is the 12th of Barty’s career and a Tour-leading fourth of 2021.

“Australians have such a rich history in sport, and I think being able to be a very small part of that is something I always dreamt of,” Barty said. “Try and create a legacy, try and create a path for young girls and boys to believe in their dreams. Being able to kind of live through that and learn my lessons along the way has been some of the best parts of my journey.

“To be able to be successful here at Wimbledon, to achieve my biggest dream, has been absolutely incredible. The stars aligned for me over the past fortnight. Incredible that it happened to fall on the 50th anniversary of Evonne’s first title here, too.”

Sportslumo Desk

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