Throughout Wimbledon Australian’s were reminded that in 2021 it was 50-years since Evonne Goolagong won her first Wimbledon title. It sounded like destiny that Ash Barty would win her first Wimbledon title this year.
Destiny was fulfilled as Barty defeated eighth seed Karolina Pliskova in a nerve-wracking albeit exciting three-set final.
Two words- Barty Party
Barty was off to a flyer to start the match, winning the first 14-points of the match, while her run of points might have come to an end she didn’t give Pliskova much wiggle room and took the break to start the set 4-0 up.
Pliskova wasn’t going down in the first set quietly, however, breaking Barty 40-love, however, she was unable to hold her serve and despite breaking Barty a second time was dangerously close to giving up the first set off the back of her own service game.
The Czech star was back in it after managing to hold her serve in yet another 40-love game.
Barty was never in any doubt, not dropping a point in the final game to take out the first set leaving her one set away from her second Grand Slam title.
The 29-year-old had her work cut out for her, the last time a women’s singles player came back from a set down in a Grand Slam Final to win the title was in 2006, and Barty wasn’t looking like she was in any danger of losing any time soon.
She was going to have to manage her errors if she was to get the one up on Barty in the second.
Both started the set strong, winning their respective service games without dropping a point, but it was once again Barty who went up a break early.
Barty held her serve convincingly, hitting an ace to seal the game, whilst in the following game Pliskova hardly wavered to keep herself in the match.
The eighth seed finally looked comfortable come the sixth game, breaking Barty’s serve 40-love and then holding her serve to have the momentum behind her for the first time in the Final, Barty fought to stay in several points managing to extend rallies but couldn’t get the shot off to claim them.
The world number one showed a rare bit of emotion despite losing three consecutive games, smiling as she went to take her serve. It was a sign of how comfortable the Australian was on centre court in the final, unbothered by the shift in momentum.
In two successive points, Barty hit a ball deep into the court with the call going Barty’s way. In both points, Pliskova challenged the call only for the ball to be ruled in by the tiniest margin.
Even if the match was more even than it had been in the first set everything just seemed to be going the Australian’s way. The 25-year-old held, keeping her in the set as she held her serve once more.
The pair both held their serve for the next two games, bringing the second set to 5-5 with a tiebreaker seeming like it was on the cards.
Just when Barty looked in danger she managed to come out the winner of a 14 shot rally whilst 40-love down. From there she won the next five points to go up a break, just needing to hold her serve to win the Championship.
That didn’t eventuate, however, with Barty only winning one point in her service game as the 29-year-old forced a tiebreak.
It was Pliskova who went up early forcing an error to lead 4-2 in the tiebreak.
It was the next point that was quite possibly the point of the match with both players coming to the net and then dashing to the baseline hungry to win every point. It went Pliskova’s way with a forehand winner and while Barty clawed back two more points Pliskova won the second set.
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Unbothered by the second set loss, Barty won the first three points of the first game of the third, however, she gave the Czech star an opening to come back in and bring the game to deuce.
The experienced Barty steadied her nerves and served out the game and followed it up by breaking Pliskova’s serve in a 40-15 game.
The Australian went on to hold her serve again to go up 3-0 early in the third set. Pliskova didn’t have any issues in her service game, staying in the match but couldn’t convert in the next game with Barty coming away with the points in multiple rallies.
Despite threatening to steal the break from Barty in the seventh game of the third set, Pliskova was unable to convert and Barty for the second time for the match was just one game away from the title.
A second contender came for point of the match came from the first point in the eighth game, the pair seemingly duelling at the net before Pliskova hit a shot into the back of the court forcing the Australian to put her jets on, Barty managed to extend the rally ever so slightly but a drop shot from Plsikova was too much and she took away a crucial point as she fought to stay in the match.
Barty was well and truly still in the came looking to close out the match, but the eighth seed managed to stay in it for one more game.
The final game of the women’s singles tournament at Wimbledon was truly a nail-biter with points going back and forth. Pliskova looked to break but Barty came back to bring the game to deuce, getting her first championship point for the match with an Ace.
She only needed the one to take out the title-winning her second Grand Slam title and was the first Australian woman to clinch the Wimbledon title since Evonne Goolagong Cawley won her second in 1980.
In the post-match speech, Barty uttered six words that ring true for just how meaningful this win is.
“I hope I made Evonne proud.”
|Ash Barty 1
|Karolina Pliskova 8
Fans will next see Ash Barty on the world stage at Tokyo 2020 where she’ll make her Olympic debut.
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