Ash Barty started off well in the Wimbledon final, collecting 14 points. She then had to resist a comeback bid, before defeating Karolina Pliskova, 6-3, 7-6 (4), and 6-3 on Saturday to win her second Grand Slam title.
Barty, the top-seeded player, adds this title to the one she won in the French Open 2019.
Since Evonne Goolagong’s 1980 victory, she is the first Australian woman who has won the All England Club singles trophy. Barty claims she was inspired by Goolagong’s dress that she wore at Wimbledon as a tribute to it when she won the tournament in 1971.
Barty, 25, who was the Wimbledon junior champion a decade back, quit the tennis tour in 2014 due to burnout and returned home for almost two years. After playing professional cricket in her home country, she decided to return to her other sports.
It was a good call.
She played well at the start of each set against Pliskova (eighth-seeded, 29-year-old Czech Republic player with a big serve).
Pliskova fell to 0-2 during major finals. She was also the runner up at the 2016 U.S. Open.
Barty’s biggest wobble was in the second set. Barty won the set 6-5, but she failed to sail consecutive forehands in order to break them. She then became shaky during the tiebreaker, which she conceded with a double fault.
Barty won the third set, a 3-0 lead, and took an early break. This was the first Wimbledon women’s final that had gone three sets since 2012. It was also the first match since 1977 between two players who had never been this far at the All England Club.
Pliskova and Barty failed to make it past the fourth round of the grass-court major at the grass-court major up until this fortnight.
The match took place under cloudy skies, with Centre Court’s retractable roofing open despite the rain forecast for most of the afternoon. Barty and Pliskova had a warmup under the No. 1 Court roof due to the possibility of rain showers. 1 Court earlier in day, sometimes standing side-by-side as they hit shots.
Barty and Barty had a lot of fun chatting during the coin toss, but when it got serious, they were not going to be laughing.
Barty was confident and at ease right from the beginning. Her strokes were confident. Her demeanor was also impressive. Barty displayed all of her skills and versatility during the match-opening run, which saw her go up 3-0, love-30, and then win a few points after Pliskova won a couple of them, 4-0.
Pliskova’s speedy serves, which produced 54 aces in Saturday’s tournament, were returned by her without any problems. To win a point, she lobbed Pliskova (6’1″), who is 8″ taller than the 5-foot-5 Barty. With her topspin forehand, she won many matches and gave opportunities to others with her sliced backhands. She had an ace of her very own and finished 7-6 ahead of Pliskova.
Barty won 22 out of 31 points, which lasted at least nine strokes. This was the key stat.
Pliskova watched as the balls flew past her, and the murmurings in the full-capacity stands reached an ebullient crescendo. She watched the ball fly past Pliskova with little in the way of reaction other than a blank stare. She filled her head with her racket strings, as if she wanted to be somewhere else.
Pliskova’s coach, Sascha Bjin, previously worked with Naomi Osaka, and was before that Serena Williams’ hitting partner. She sat in the guest room above the one-line baseline, her arms crossed, and her brow furrowed.
Even though Pliskova had sorted things out, the rhythm in the first set was still erratic: Six games were won at the love.
Pliskova finally took the time to master her strokes in the second-set, where she trailed twice by a break before winning it.
Barty could have been shaken by that. But here’s the truth: Barty speaks openly about not allowing anything to get her down. This includes the hip injury that kept her out of last month’s French Open and from her normal preparation for Wimbledon.
Barty kept her grit and continued to play against Pliskova. Barty did not hesitate to serve the second time, even though she was facing a break point.
Pliskova missed a backhand, so Barty delivered a 108 mph Ace. Pliskova’s last backhand error ended the match. Barty crouched down at the baseline and covered her face by her arm.