Wimbledon: Barty, Pliskova reach finals for 44-year first

Ashleigh Barty and Karolina Pliskova reached the final of Wimbledon to create a 44-year first

Ashleigh Barty and Karolina Pliskova created a 44-year first at Wimbledon/ Photo credit AELTC

Ashleigh Barty and Karolina Pliskova reached the final to record a 44-year first at Wimbledon. It will be the first time since 1977 that both finalists are in their maiden Wimbledon final.

Top seed Barty defeated 2018 champion Angelique Kerber 6-3 7-6(3) on Thursday.

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Barty also becomes first Australian woman to play in the final at SW19 since seven-time major winner Evonne Goolagong Cawley won her last Grand Slam title here in 1980.

Her scallop-hemmed dress this year is a tribute to the trailblazing Goolagong Cawley, the first Indigenous woman to win Wimbledon.

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“It’s a really special anniversary for Evonne,” said Barty, who finished with 38 winners and only 16 unforced errors.

“I couldn’t be more proud to be in a position to wear an outfit inspired by her. Now to kind of give myself a chance to create some history almost in a way that’s a tribute to her is really exciting. I couldn’t be more rapt to have that opportunity on Saturday.”

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After saving a break point in a nervy opening game on a sunny Centre Court, Barty was supreme in the first set as her all-court game flowed on the grass.

The 33-year-old Kerber used all her experience on the surface to hit back in the second set and looked poised to take it into a decider when serving at 5-3.

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A netted backhand from Kerber sent Barty through to her second Grand Slam final, having won the French Open in 2019.

Later in the day, Pliskova fought past No.2 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.

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The Czech withstood Sabalenka’s power play to make a long-waited return to the Grand Slam final since the US Open summit clash in 2016.

Barty leads the head-to-head battle with Pliskova 5-2 and has won the last three contests between them.