London – Ash Barty is one victory away from realizing her dream of winning the Wimbledon title on the 50th anniversary of fellow indigenous Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley’s first triumph.
The 25-year-old world No. 1 produced her best performance of the tournament so far to beat 2018 champion Angelique Kerber 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).
Barty will play former world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in Saturday’s final.
Pliskova came from a set down to beat powerful Belarusian second seed Aryna Sabalenka 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.
Barty had never progressed further than the fourth round at Wimbledon. She took the first set with just one break of serve and then showed real determination to turn around a 4-1 deficit and force the tiebreak, where she had six match points.
“It’s incredible, it was as close to as good a tennis match that I have ever played,” said Barty who fired eight aces and 38 winners.
“It was a hell of a match from the first ball.”
“I am really proud of myself and my team. It’s been an incredible journey, full of ups and downs.”
Barty said she had not spoken to Cawley since the tournament began.
She did, however, wear the specially designed dress — created in honor of the iconic scallop outfit Cawley wore in 1971 — she has worn since the tournament began.
“To give myself a chance to create some history almost in a way that’s a tribute to her is really exciting,” Barty said. “I couldn’t be more rapt to have that opportunity on Saturday.”
On the other side of the net will be Pliskova, who has never doubted herself despite dropping out of the top 10 — she is ranked 13th — after being a regular since 2016.
A first appearance in a Wimbledon final has justified that self-belief.
Pliskova had never been beyond the fourth round but showed great resilience in coming from behind to beat Sabalenka.
She managed to get over the disappointment of failing to take any of the eight break points she secured in the first set, before losing it, and went toe-to-toe with Sabalenka the rest of the way.
Sabalenka might have been the No. 2 seed, but she was in unfamiliar waters, having never gone past the second round in her previous three visits.
Pliskova’s advantage in experience — she has now reached the semifinals in all four Grand Slams, shone through in the end.
Pliskova is the first Czech woman to reach the final since Petra Kvitova’s second title in 2014.
“It sounds amazing to be in the final as I never got past the fourth round here before,” Pliskova said.
“I had so many chances in the first set and I got frustrated. A lot of credit to her, she played a great match. I’m super happy to have found a way to win.
“She plays so fast. I didn’t have time to think about what I needed to do. She’s super powerful.”
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