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BARTY 6-3 3-1 PLISKOVA
Clutch serving from Barty sees her shrug off a double fault for 30-30 and back up the break. That second Grand Slam title is beginning to loom larger on her horizon.
Wimbledon finals, order of play – Barty v Pliskova, Djokovic v Berrettini
2 HOURS AGO
BREAK! – BARTY 6-3 2-1 PLISKOVA
That’s another shocker for Pliskova. A double fault starts her nerves off again at 0-30. She can barely set her legs to reach a crosscourt Barty forehand and pummels the response long. A tight forehand slaps into the net seconds later and it’s another break for the Aussie.
BARTY 6-3 1-1 PLISKOVA
No dip from Ash’s point of view. The world number one polishes off a love hold with another ace to quickly level matters.
BARTY 6-3 0-1 PLISKOVA
A crunch moment then – but Pliskova delivers. She needed a strong start to Set 2 to build on the suggestion she was now invested in this final after an unfashionably late arrival. She claims a solid enough hold to 15 and the crowd respond in kind. They want to see much more tennis this afternoon and the key to that will be a Karolina revival.
SET! – BARTY 6-3 PLISKOVA
That’s much more solid from Barty and she halts any Pliskova designs on an unlikely recovery to serve out the opener to love.
BARTY 5-3 PLISKOVA
Momentum switch? Pliskova does find the her major asset and rampages to a love hold. She looks to have finally arrived in this final and clenches her fist in both celebration and renewed belief. It may not be enough to save the set, but it should at least be more competitive from now on.
BREAK! – BARTY 5-1 PLISKOVA
Oh dear. Karolina responds by returning the donation in kind. The Czech skews a weak backhand into the net at 30-30 and then lashes a loose forehand wide to cough up another break. Her serve has been such a weapon throughout the last fortnight but it’s gone AWOL so far today.
BREAK! – BARTY 4-1 PLISKOVA
Respite! Barty suddenly leaks errors for fun and offers little fight as she slaps a poor forehand into the net to cough up one of the breaks back to love. It’s an interesting twist but will it help Karolina finally get those butterflies under control.
BREAK! – BARTY 4-0 PLISKOVA
This is a disaster for the Czech. She earns an encouraging roar from the crowd as she stops the rot at 14 points in a row and finally gets on the board. However, Barty is in no mood to offer too much charity. The Aussie produces electric, low slice deep to the baseline that is just too good and earns another two break points. Pliskova survives one when the top seed corks a make-able forehand into the net but then proves to be her own worst enemy with a double fault. That won’t do much for her belief here.
BARTY 3-0 PLISKOVA
This is majestic from Ash. She consolidates with a rapid love hold. She looks completely serene which is in stark contrast to Karolina. The No.8 seed looks like a rabbit in the headlights. She’s yet to get a point and needs to settle down fast.
BREAK! – BARTY 2-0 PLISKOVA
It’s nervy from Karolina and the world number one makes her pay. The Czech’s serve lacks its usual fizz and Barty sets about making the early breakthrough. A sumptuous lob sets the alarm bells jangling for Pliskova before a tight backhand when dealing with the Aussie’s trademark low slice slaps into the net. It’s triple break point and Barty needs no extra invitation as she rattles a backhand up the line to take the game to love and make an early statement in intent.
BARTY 1-0 PLISKOVA
A Pliskova slip allows Barty to open with a crisp crosscourt backhand and from that point it’s a stroll. The Aussie nails a pair of aces and lures an error long to kick things off with a confident love hold.
Views from the baseline
Pliskova: “Coming into this tournament, the dream was to make the second week because I was not in the second week for a while. I never thought about maybe going into the final.”
The 2011 junior champion, Barty is hoping to mark the 50th anniversary of her hero, Evonne Goolagong Cawley’s first win with a victory of her own. She said: “To give myself a chance to create some history that’s almost like a tribute to her is really exciting. It’s a really special anniversary for Evonne.”
Barty leads the match-up 5-2 and has won the last three in a row. Pliskova triumphed in their most recent meeting on grass (7-6 7-6) in the quarter finals at Nottingham in 2016.
Hello and welcome to LIVE updates of the 2021 Wimbledon ladies final between world number one Ash Barty and No.8 seed Karolina Pliskova. This is the first time since 1977 that both women are contesting a SW19 final for the first time and means we are guaranteed a new name on that famous trophy. It promises to be a tasty battle with the players due on Centre Court from 14.00 BST.
Welcome to finals weekend
The finals weekend at Wimbledon will first up see world number one Ash Barty take on Karolina Pliskova in the women’s final with both players having made the showpiece at SW19 for the first time.
Then on Sunday, the men’s world number one Novak Djokovic will face Italy’s Matteo Berrettini as he aims for his record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title to draw level with rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
This is how the weekend is going to map out…
Saturday: Centre Court – play from 14:00 UK time
- Ash Barty (AUS) 1 v Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 8
Sunday: Centre Court – play from 14:00 UK time
- Matteo Berrettini (ITA) 7 v Novak Djokovic (SRB) 1
World number one Novak Djokovic celebrates at Wimbledon 2021
Image credit: Getty Images
‘I truly try to manifest wolf energy on court’
In an interview with Eurosport’s Mats Wilander and Barbara Schett at Wimbledon, Djokovic has given further thoughts about his connection to wolves and what they symbolise for him.
“I owe a lot of credit to my wolf family!” he joked to Eurosport. “When I was a kid, actually, I spent a lot of time in the mountains because my parents had a restaurant business from which we lived. Every time I had a school break I was there.
“So I love the ability to have freedom, space, go around and be in the mountains. I did have an encounter with wolves as well, actually! Yeah, a little bit… from afar! I was not as brave as I am now, talking about it.
“Wolves always kind of attracted me, you know. We are, at least most people, frightened of wolves, but at the same time they are very instinctual animals, and I think very important animals for our ecosystem and for us.
“I grew up in the mountains, so for me, I had that connection, even though I wasn’t having those kind of close encounters with them.
Yeah, I truly try to manifest that kind of determined, instinctual wolf energy on the court.
“I feel it helps; that, balanced with calmness, knowing when to attack and knowing when to rest. So I think those kinds of symbolic explanations kind of fit with wolves.”
The Championships at the All England Club had to be cancelled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic without a ball being hit.
In 2019, Novak Djokovic defeated Roger Federer in what was a match for the ages to lift his fifth Wimbledon title, while Simona Halep overcame Serena Williams to win the women’s title two years ago.
Who is going to triumph this year?
Djokovic is the overwhelming favourite to make it three Grand Slams on the bounce after his triumphs at the Australian Open and French Open. Can Matteo Berrettini stop him on Sunday?
The women’s draw has been much more wide open and Ashleigh Barty remains the top seed and favourite ahead of the final against Karolina Pliskova.
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