It was a day to savour for world No. 1 Ash Barty as she claimed the Wimbledon title she has craved most of her life. The emotion was there for all to see on Barty’s face after match point was clinched against Czech Karolina Pliskova as it was a triumph that meant more to her than most.
With the 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 victory, the 25-year-old not only confirmed her status as the best female player on the planet by claiming the crown at All England Club, she also became the first Australian to win the London Grand Slam title in 41 years — and she also managed to emulate her hero and idol Evonne Goolagong, who claimed the second of her Wimbledon titles in 1980.
Barty made her breakthrough in 2019 when she claimed the French Open title at Roland Garros in 2019 and has since retaken the No. 1 spot from Japan’s Naomi Osaka to become Australia’s greatest female tennis player since Goolagong.
“I hope I made Evonne proud,” Barty said on Saturday. “This is incredible.”
The Aussie eased through the first set and was a break up in the second — apparently on course for an easy afternoon in London — before Pliskova finally found her feet and her range, taking it in the tiebreak and sending the clash to a deciding set. But Barty found another gear and broke early in the third to ease any nerves and eventually see off her plucky opponent and make another piece of history on her first match point.
The Australian broke into tears when she realised what she had done, admitting she could not even remember the final point.
“She brought out the best of me today,” Barty said. “I was proud of myself that I could keep chipping away at the start of the third set. It took me a while to say I wanted to win this tournament, but it’s better than I ever imagined. I didn’t sleep last night ... but I felt at home out on the court.”
With Osaka and Barty both at the top of their game, maybe a classic rivalry is in the making.