The No. 1 women’s tennis player in the world more than lived up to expectations at Wimbledon.
Ashleigh Barty got out to a big lead and held on against Karolina Pliskova to win Wimbledon in a three-set thriller on Saturday, 6-3, 6-7, 6-3.
Barty opened the match in dominating fashion, winning the first 14 points. She overwhelmed Pliskova with aces and well-placed shots that fell just out of Pliskova’s reach.
Down 4-0 in the first set, Pliskova finally registered her first point.
It drew loud cheers from the crowd in London. From there, Pliskova seemed to settle in. She took the fifth game from Barty, lost a tough sixth game and then bounced back with a win, making it 5-2.
Pliskova then turned in — to that point — her best performance of the match to make it 5-3. Barty bounced back with a win in the next game to take the first set.
Pliskova jumped out to a strong start in the second set, taking the first game. While Barty managed to take the next three games, Pliskova refused to go quietly. Pliskova took the next three games, and her first lead in the set, going up 4-3 over Barty. The two traded the next two games, giving Pliskova a 5-4 lead.
With the set on the line, Barty turned up the intensity, picking up a few aces to make it 5-5. The next game was extremely close, but Barty prevailed to put herself a game away from the championship. Pliskova rallied to take the 12th game, setting up a tiebreak.
Wimbledon introduced new tiebreak rules in 2019 in an effort to end marathon play. Under the new rules, the first player to reach seven points would win the tiebreak and the set. Pliskova did that, setting up a final set.
Barty jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the final set, but Pliskova once again battled back. She won the fourth game of the set, and split the next two, making it 4-2. Barty took the seventh game, inching closer to her first Wimbledon title.
As she did the entire match, Pliskova settled in and made it tough for Barty. Pliskova picked up a win in the eighth game, making it 5-3.
Pliskova fought Barty to yet another close game, but Barty finally closed things out, winning Wimbledon. Barty broke down on the court, shedding tears as she celebrated.
With the win, Barty became the first No. 1-ranked woman to win Wimbledon since Serena Williams accomplished the feat in 2016. Barty also became the first Australian woman to win Wimbledon since Evonne Goolagong, Barty’s mentor, won the event in 1980.
It is Barty’s first singles title at Wimbledon, and the second Grand Slam singles win of Barty’s career. She also won the 2019 French Open.
Following the win, Barty credited Pliskova for the tough match. Barty also thanked the fans for making the win feel special.—AP