Barty defeats Pliskova to win Wimbledon title

  • Matt Trollope

World No.1 Ash Barty fulfilled a lifelong dream and further cemented her place among the greats of Australian tennis with victory over Karolina Pliskova in Saturday's Wimbledon final.

The 25-year-old Queenslander produced a resilient performance in a dramatic match at Centre Court to win her first Wimbledon and second Grand Slam singles title.

Barty defeated Pliskova 6-3 6-7(4) 6-3 to become the first female Australian champion at the All England Club since Evonne Goolagong Cawley 41 years earlier in 1980.

And she did so on the 50th anniversary of Goolagong's first Wimbledon triumph in 1971, exactly 10 years after winning the girls' singles title herself.

"It took me a long time to verbalise the fact that I wanted to dare to dream it and say I wanted to win this incredible tournament," Barty said after accepting the Venus Rosewater Dish. 

"And being able to live out my dream right now with everyone here, this has made it better than I could ever have imagined. 

"I didn't sleep a lot last night. I was thinking of all the what-ifs, but I think when I was coming out on this court, I felt at home, in a way.

"And I think being able to share that with everyone here, to share that with my team, is incredible."

Her voice then cracked as she said: "I hope I made Evonne proud." 

Scintillating start, dramatic finish

Barty was brilliant in winning the first 14 points of the match. 

She surged to a 6-3 3-1 lead against the nervous Pliskova, who did not hit a single winner until the seventh game.

Barty dealt with a spirited fightback from the former world No.1, who against the tide won four of the next five games, and earned a shot at serving for the championship at 6-5. 

But she faltered, with her serve and forehand deserting her and helping Pliskova force a tiebreak, which the Czech dominated to energise the crowd. 

Barty settled in the third, breaking early to establish a 3-0 lead. And while Pliskova worked her way back into the set, she was too far behind.

The Australian arrived at 5-3, with another chance to serve out the match, and despite sending a swinging forehand volley into the net to hand Pliskova a break point, Barty's serve got her out of trouble.

She sealed victory when Pliskova sent a final backhand into the net, and was overwhelmed with emotion.

"I think she was playing incredible tournament, incredible match today," Pliskova said during the trophy presentation.

"It wasn't easy to close the second set; I was fighting very hard to make it difficult for her. But I think she really played very well, so congrats to her, and her team."

It is Barty's second major title after she won Roland Garros in 2019.

With the victory, Barty earned a tour-leading 35th match win of the season and ensured she will remain world No.1.

Master of ceremonies, Sue Barker, asked the 25-year-old to talk everybody through match point.

"I can't remember it," Barty replied sheepishly, as the Centre Court crowd laughed.

"(I told myself at the start of the third to) just keep fighting. Kaja is an incredible competitor, she brought out the very best in me today, and it was an exceptional match right from the start, and I knew that I had to bring my very best level.

"I was really proud of myself the way I was able to reset and just keep going, just keep chipping away at the start of that third set, and held my nerve there in then end."