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Karolina Pliskova Fought Back From A Set Down Against Second Seed Aryna Sabalenka To Book Her Spot In A First Wimbledon Final



Pliskova, the eighth seed from the Czech Republic, is a surprise finalist. Despite being a regular in the top-10, she has struggled to make her mark at the biggest events.

But in a clinic in brutal ball striking from both, the Czech – who is currently one of only three female players to be a slamless world No. 1 – provided more craft and was good value for her comeback win, triumphing 5-7 6-4 6-4.

There were 70 winners hit in a fast-paced encounter, with the pair hitting a combined 32 aces.

But Pliskova set up 10 break points compared to her opponent’s one and made more dents on return games.

‘Sounds amazing of course,’ said Pliskova of reaching the final. ‘Until now I didn’t pass the fourth round. I think it’s an incredible achievement.

‘It was an amazing match from both of us. It was an amazing match. I got a bit frustrated but she was serving unbelievable today. A lot of credit to her. But I’m super happy.

‘She’s super powerful. There were a lot of winners. It was but I’m super happy about the win.’

These are two players who many feel have underachieved at Slam level.

Pliskova, a former world No. 1, had only reached one major final prior to this tournament, while this was Sabalenka’s debut beyond the fourth round despite being consistently one of the best players on the regular WTA Tour.

The Czech, known for her candour, shrugged off her relative Slam struggles in the past, telling the New York Times after the quarter-finals: ‘Even if I don’t win a Grand Slam, there are some girls that they win one and then they never win anything anymore — they are not even top-10, they can’t hold the level. Honestly, I don’t know what’s better.’

For all the criticism she’s faced on that front, she has reached the semi-finals at every major tournament but at 29 it remains a surprise she hasn’t gone all the way at a Slam.

Perhaps the most telling piece of evidence why came at the end of the first set. Despite being the better player and failing to convert eight points – primarily due to the fabulous clutch serving from her opponent – Pliskova shrivelled under the pressure and double faulted to hand Sabalenka a little-deserved lead.

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It won’t be easy. Barty has been in superb form and out-thought former champion Angelique Kerber in a 6-3 7-6 (7-3) win in Thursday’s earlier semi-final.

World No. 1 Barty, who won junior Wimbledon 10 years ago, will hope to win a second Grand Slam title following her French Open triumph in 2019.

‘I wasn’t sure if it would ever happen honestly,’ Barty said of reaching her first Wimbledon final. I think you have to keep putting yourself in the position.

‘I think Wimbledon for me has been an amazing place of learning. I think 10 years ago I came here for the first time as a junior and learned a lot in that week.

‘Probably 2018, 2019 was some of my toughest weeks playing. To come away with our losses in those two tournaments, I learned a hell of a lot from those two times.

‘I think a lot of the time your greatest growth comes from your darkest times. I think that’s why this tournament has been so important to me. I’ve learned so much with all my experiences, the good, bad, everything in between I’ve been able to learn from.

‘Just to be able to keep chipping away, keep putting yourself out there, let yourself be vulnerable, just be yourself, knowing that everything that comes with that is an opportunity to learn. I think that’s been a massive one for us this fortnight.’

Both Pliskova and Sabalenka are big servers and the latter began with a statement hold, thumping down huge serves and following up a couple with forehand winners to hold to love.



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