(July 8, 2021) It will be a battle between first-time Wimbledon finalists on Saturday when No. 1 Ashleigh Barty takes on No. 8 seed Karolina Pliskova.
Barty bested No. 25th seed and 2018 winner Angelique Kerber of Germany 6-3, 7-6(3), while Pliskova rallied past No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.
Barty, the 25-year-old from Australia needed to come back from a 3-5 deficit in the second set and did it by reeling off 11 straight points.
“Yeah, it was incredible,” Barty said in talking to media about the win. “It was just almost a moment of relief, a moment of pure excitement. It was something that I’d never, never knew if I would feel. I think being able to have an opportunity to play in a final here at Wimbledon is incredible.”
“You see that she has a lot of confidence, that she played a lot of big matches, that she’s the No.1 player in the world right now,” noted three-time major winner Kerber. “But for me it was important to give everything I had on court. Yeah, like I said, she had always, like in the important moment, the better answer.”
“She’s (Kerber) a great champion,” said the 2019 French Open champion. “I knew that I had to bring my very best level today to match it with her.”
Barty is trying to become the first Australian woman to win Wimbledon since Evonne Goolagong since 1980. Barty is sporting a scalloped-hemmed kit by Fila, that salutes Goolagong’s 50th anniversary of winning her first Wimbledon in 1971. Goolagong was the first native Australian to win the tournament.
“It’s a really special anniversary for Evonne,” Barty said. “I couldn’t be more proud to be in a position to wear an outfit inspired by her. Now to kind of give myself a chance to create some history almost in a way that’s a tribute to her is really exciting.”
Less than a month ago, Barty had to retire from her second-round match at the French Open with a left hip injury, now she’s in another major final.
“Everything had to be spot on to give myself a chance to play pain-free and to play knowing that I could trust my body,” Barty said.
“I’ve had ups and downs and everything in between and I wouldn’t change one day or one moment or one, kind of, road that we’ve taken in my path and my journey,” said Barty.
The 29-year Pliskova of the Czech Republic was a finalist at the 2016 U.S. Open where she lost to Angelique Kerber.
“Coming into this tournament, the dream was to make the second week, of course, because I was not in [a major tournament] second week for a while,” Pliskova said in her news conference. “Never I thought about maybe going into the final.”
“After losing the first set, I thought it was going to be super tough to win this match,” Pliskova said. “Then to win two sets in a row with the way how she was serving today.”
It was a battle of big serves with Pliskova nailing 14 aces to Sabalenka’s 18.
“Super proud about the way how I handled the situation out there, the second and third set, and that I served out the match,” Pliskova said.
Barty leads the head-to-head winning five of the seven matches contested.