will crown a new queen on Saturday, when first-time finalists Ashleigh Barty and
Karolina Pliskova face off to lift the most prestigious title in tennis. Neither
had progressed past the fourth-round stage of the tournament until this year, where they showed great determination to overcome significant challenges and enter the
one Barty is the first Australian woman to reach the Wimbledon final since her
idol and mentor and fellow indigenous Australia Evonne Goolagong Cawley’s
second title in 1980. The 25-year-old is also one win away from realising her
dream of winning the title, on the 50th anniversary of Cawley’s first
Barty, who fired eight aces and 38 winners, produced her best performance so far in the tournament when she beat Germany’s 2018
champion Angelique Kerber in straight sets 6-3, 7-6 (7/3).
She took the first set with just the one break of serve and then showed real determination to turn around a 1-4 deficit and force the tie-break where she had six match points.
Kerber saved three but it was only delaying the inevitable and soon it was Barty who raised her arms in celebration.
“It’s incredible, it was as close to as good a tennis match that I have ever played,” AFP quoted Barty as saying.
“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.
However, as she has done since the outset she wore the specially-designed dress in tribute to her mentor’s iconic scallop one she wore in 1971.
“To give myself a chance to create some history almost in a way that’s a tribute to her is really exciting,” said Barty.
“I couldn’t be more rapt to have that opportunity on Saturday.”
Meanwhile, Pliskova staged a memorable comeback against Belarusian second seed Aryna Sabalenka to win 5-7, 6-4, 6-4. Having not dropped a set throughout the tournament, she found herself trailing 5-7 after the first but showed great resilience in coming from behind to beat Sabalenka.
She managed to get over the disappointment of both failing to take any of the eight break points that she secured in the first set and losing it to battle it out toe-to-toe with Sabalenka.
Sabalenka might have been second seed but she had gone into previously undiscovered Wimbledon waters — a second round turn in 2017 her previous best on three visits.
However, Pliskova’s perhaps greater experience — Wimbledon completed the full house of Grand Slam singles semi-finals — told in the end.
Much to the delight of herself raising her face to the sky and putting her hands over it — whilst husband Michal Hrdlicka applauded.
She is the first Czech woman to get to the final since Petra Kvitova’s second title win in 2014.
“It sounds amazing to be in the final as I never got past the fourth round here before,” said Pliskova.
“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.”