Home — Sports It’s Ashleigh Barty vs. Karolina Pliskova in Wimbledon Final

It’s Ashleigh Barty vs. Karolina Pliskova in Wimbledon Final

by Mary Sewell

WIMBLEDON, England — Centre Court is back to total capacity as England gradually relaxes its pandemic restrictions. The fans merrily quaffing Pimm’s in their expensive seats certainly got two very different matches for their money on Thursday.

The first women’s semifinal, between Ashleigh Barty and Angelique Kerber, was a craft fair full of slice and guile and often lengthy rallies. Between Aryna Sabalenka and Karolina Pliskova, the second semifinal was heavy metal: thunderous serves, big-bang returns, and Sabalenka’s shrieks.

But the goal was the same for all involved, and when silence finally returned to the closest thing tennis has to a temple, the Wimbledon finalists were the current world No. 1, Barty, and a former No. 1, Pliskova.

Barty, who defeated Kerber, 6-3, 7-6 (3), will be aiming for her first Wimbledon title on Saturday. Pliskova, who rallied to defeat Sabalenka, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4, will be aiming for her first Grand Slam title.

Though both Barty and Pliskova have excellent serves, the final will also be a contrast in styles.

Pliskova, 29, is an angular 6-foot-1 identical twin from the Czech Republic with relatively flat groundstrokes and a blunt streak who has hired and fired numerous coaches in her professional career.

Barty, 25, is a 5-foot-5 Australian with a solid build and diplomatic skills who has worked long term with Craig Tyzzer as her coach and tends to use words like “we” and “our” when referring to her tennis matches. While Pliskova likes to smack her shots quickly off the bounce, Barty relies on the heavy spin. She has a whipping forehand, but her signature shot is a one-handed chip backhand that stays low on any surface but is particularly difficult for her opponents to dig out on the grass.

The stroke was decisive in Barty’s and Pliskova’s only previous matchup in a final: Barty prevailed in straight sets at the 2019 Miami Open, on her way to claiming the year-end No. 1 ranking.

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