Ashleigh Barty defeated Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3 to win her first Wimbledon singles title on Saturday.
Barty is the world No. 1 player and was the top seed but was not considered a firm favorite at the start of Wimbledon, a tournament she never won. Just last month, Barty had to retire midway through the second round of the French Open due to an injury to his left hip.
“It’s unbelievable,” said an overwhelmed Barty, holding the trophy.
He had not played a warm-up event on grass before Wimbledon, but recorded six consecutive wins at the All England Club without dropping a set en route to the final. Barty is the first Australian woman to win the Wimbledon singles title since Ivonne Gulagong Kawle won in 1980.
Barty idolized Golgong Kawle and paid tribute to him throughout this year’s tournament, wearing a version of her scallop-hemmed dress.
Barty chose not to play in 2020 when tennis resumed in August, instead staying in Australia and several months away from the sport. She returned for the tuneup event ahead of the Australian Open in January but lost in the quarterfinals of her country’s championship.
Since then, with her injury in France, and especially Australia’s strict quarantine requirements, she has had an exceptional year even as she hasn’t been at home since March. Barty will not return home until at least after the US Open in September.
By defeating Pliskova, Barty defeated a two-time Grand Slam finalist whose success at Wimbledon was perhaps even more surprising than Barty’s. Eighth-seeded Pliskova had lost three of her last four matches before Wimbledon and suffered a 6-0, 6-0 loss to Poland’s Iga Swietek at the Italian Open in May.
After the up-and-down start to Barty’s career, the version presented in Center Court on Saturday featured the Barty longer stretches that many had hoped for. At 25, she was just playing her second Grand Slam final. She has won both, but as the No. 1 player in the world, and blessed with her level of talent and athleticism, it was hard to watch Barty on Saturday and know that the mix had just won another Grand Slam title – the French Open in 2019.
Barty dominated in the beginning, winning the first 14 points of the match and the first four games, as Pliskova struggled to loosen up and manage nerves to play in the final of the game’s most important tournament.
Pliskova then came to life and scored a respectable first set, but the result was never in doubt.
When Barty is on, she has the ability to look like Federer as if she is swimming across the court. She swings, slices and whips backhands at impossible angles, depending on what moment is required, seemingly sending her opponents one more step back from baseline with each shot. pushes. Don’t let Barty overhead. No matter where she is, she finds a way to slide under it and shoo it away.
Barty got an early service break to take a 2–1 lead in the second set, but Pliskova bounced back in the sixth game of the set and removed the forehand to give herself three chances to score on three. It seemed that the shot was giving Pliskova a jolt of energy and confidence. In the next game, he began to sharpen his serve and forehand and began sending Barty into the corners for the first time all afternoon.
It was the first time two men playing in the Wimbledon final fought with their nerves like each other.
Serving 5–5 and 40–0, Pliskova appeared to have won the game, but Barty scrambled and hit another shot to Pliskova for the forehand. With the court wide open, Pliskova nets a backhand volley. Sensing a start, Barty dug Pliskova from baseline into a series of errors to force her to win the next four points and grab a chance to serve for the match.
But Pliskova fought once again, breaking Barty’s faltering serve and forcing a tiebreaker once again. Handed a new lease on life, Pliskova didn’t waste it, chasing balls down the back and front of the court as Barty’s first serve all disappeared. Barty will double fault at set point. The match went to the deciding third set.
“I enjoyed every minute on this court,” Pliskova said after the match.
It was not a good start for Pliskova, who played a terrible service game at 0-1, netting a wide open forehand volley to give Barty another early service break. After that, Barty began to roll once more, re-curling his forehands and lowering it into the corners of the box.
Pliskova scored points and dragged the game as long as she could, forcing Barty to go for the winners, but as resilient as she was, she couldn’t make the last comeback. Serving for the second time for the match, Barty flirted with disaster, causing Pliskova to break her serve once again, but at match point she made another error to Pliskova. As Pliskova’s backhand hit the net, Barty held her head in disbelief after achieving her childhood dream.
“Really proud of myself about being able to reset,” Barty said.
Barty said it took her a long time to say how badly she wanted to win at Wimbledon and slept little on Friday nights, but when she came on the court on Saturday she felt like she was at home.
His performance in an astonishing two weeks was the exclamation point.
Barty’s coach, Craig Tyzer, said he played a little tennis in the weeks following that match, mostly focusing on rehab and building his strength. He did not begin his serve practice until the Wednesday before the tournament.
“It’s been a different preparation,” Tayser said. “I think it’s really well made. It started a bit scratchy. Felt like he played well in the first match. Didn’t play so well in the second. Played better in the third. It got better every time.” “
The championship will certainly help make this year’s challenges worth Barty. She badly missed the game and competition last year. Standing only 5 foot-5, on the shorter side for top players these days, Barty was a young child playing cricket and Australian rules football with her siblings and teammates in Australia. He once took time out from tennis to play professional cricket.
She is an avid golfer who often has a set of clubs handy to squeeze in rounds as she travels the world for tennis. And she has taken more trips this year than ever before.
“He actually lowered his head and said, ‘Well, if that’s what we have to do,'” Tyzer said. “It is far away from family and friends. But we have a good support network around us. We are making the best use of what we can. It would be nice if I could go home and come back with a week or two off, but we can’t do that. We’re trying to make the most of what we’ve got.”
And that’s exactly what Barty did on Saturday.