Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova edged past Belarusian second seed Aryna Sabalenka on Thursday to book her spot in the Wimbledon final for the first time. Pliskova held her nerve after suffering a 5-7 loss in the first set, responding with 6-4 wins in the next two to secure a memorable comeback win.
The 29-year-old Czech will now face Australia’s world number one Ashleigh Barty, who defeated 2018 Wimbledon winner Angelique Kerber in the other semi-final, in the showpiece final on Saturday.
Pliskova had not advanced past the fourth round of The Championships until this year but has never doubted herself, a faith justified in her performance this year. The Czech had fired 40 aces and was yet to drop a set until the semi-final against Sabalenka.
However, the odds were stacked against her when she went down in the first set, as no player had reached the final after losing the first in 33 years.
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However, Pliskova showed great resistance, firing 14 aces and winning 96 points in her comeback win. The Czech failed to capitlaise on eight break points in the first set, but didn’t let her frustrations get the better of her as she showed great resiliance to stage a comeback.
“It sounds amazing to be in the final as I never got past the fourth round here before. I had so many chances in the first set and I got frustrated. A lot of credit to her, she played a great match,” Pliskova said in her post-match comments.
“She plays so fast. I didn’t have time to think about what I needed to do. She’s super powerful,” she added.