Ashleigh Barty has reached her first Wimbledon final
Ashleigh Barty has reached her first Wimbledon final

Wimbledon 2021: World number one Ashleigh Barty faces Karolina Pliskova in women's final

World number one Ashleigh Barty defeated Angelique Kerber to become the first Australian woman to reach the Wimbledon singles final for 41 years.

Barty’s 6-3 7-6 (7-3) victory over 2018 champion Kerber puts her through to a second grand slam final and the 25-year-old will face Czech eighth seed Karolina Pliskova, who came from a set down to beat Aryna Sabalenka.

The Aussie said: “This is incredible. This is as close to as good a tennis match as I’ll ever play. Angie brought the best out of me. I’m incredibly proud of myself and my team and now we get a chance on Saturday to try to live out our childhood dream

“I’ve had an incredible journey, ups and downs and everything in between, and I wouldn’t change one moment.

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"It’s been unique, incredible, its been tough. There have been so many things that have led to this moment. I’m enjoying every single minute.

“Being able to play on the final Saturday at Wimbledon is going to be just the best experience ever.”

Kerber had been resurgent on the big stage this tournament after winning a warm-up title on home soil in Germany but Barty won the first three games, using her kick serve effectively and painting the lines.

The German improved, finding her backhand down the line, but the glimpses she did have were invariably snuffed out by a big Barty serve.

Kerber’s last victory over a top-10 player was two years ago but she began the second set much better, capitalising on a slight drop in level from her opponent and beginning to assert some authority from the baseline.

She led 3-0 and 4-1 but the advantage was slender and it was no real surprise when Barty broke back for 5-4 on a weak game from Kerber.

The German forced a tie-break but quickly found herself 6-0 down and, although she saved three match points, Barty clinched victory on her fourth opportunity.

Pliskova, meanwhile, clinched her place in her first Wimbledon final with a 5-7 6-4 6-4 victory over the second seed from Belarus.

She said: “It’s amazing, until now I didn’t get past the fourth round – now I’m in the final. It’s an amazing achievement.

“I think we played a great match. She served amazing, so I’m super happy I managed to stay in there and find a way to win.”

Doubles woe for Brit Salisbury

Brit Joe Salisbury and partner Rajeev Ram were unable to reach the Wimbledon doubles final as they lost out in a close contest to top seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic.

Salisbury was looking to become the first British finalist in the men’s doubles at SW19 since Jamie Murray in 2015 but he and American Ram were beaten 7-6 (6) 6-3 6-7 (2) 7-6 (5) by the all-conquering Croatian pair.

Mektic and Pavic, who missed the French Open after both testing positive for coronavirus, are bidding for their eighth title of the season and this was a fourth victory over Salisbury and Ram.

The Anglo-American pair went into the match having not dropped a set and beat defending champions Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the quarter-finals.

There was so little to choose between the pairs throughout the match that the final points tally read 154 each but Mektic and Pavic were superb under pressure, saving 10 of the 11 break points they faced.

Having played an excellent third-set tie-break to give themselves a chance, Ram and Salisbury finally broke serve in the third game of the fourth set only for Mektic and Pavic to hit straight back.

Salisbury did, however, reach the semi-finals of the mixed doubles as he and compatriot Harriet Dart beat compatriot Naomi Broady and France's Jeremy Chardy 4-6 6-4 7-5.

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