WILL EVANS’ daily preview serves up Wimbledon tips as Ash Barty flies the Aussie flag in a blockbuster final against Karolina Pliskova.
23:00 (AEST), Sat 10th Jul @ All England Club, Wimbledon
History: Played 7: Barty 5 V Pliskova 2
Last meeting: Stuttgart Open, 2021 (QF): Barty d Pliskova 2-6 6-1 7-5
Final Thoughts: World No.1 Ashley Barty and eighth seed Karolina Pliskova are both heading into their second Grand Slam final. Barty, the first Australian woman to reach the Wimbledon decider in 40 years, is aiming to add to her breakthrough 2019 French Open triumph. Czech veteran Pliskova is chasing her maiden major title, having lost the 2016 US Open final.
Barty boasts a handy 5-2 head-to-head advantage over Pliskova, winning the last three encounters. Following Miami Masters final and WTA Championships victories against Pliskova in 2019, Barty won their recent Stuttgart Open quarter-final after losing the first set.
Pliskova’s most recent win against Barty was in their only previous Grand Slam meeting – a straight-sets result at in the fourth round of the 2018 US Open.
Path to the final
Barty has timed her Wimbledon run to perfection. She has not dropped a set since the first round against Carla Suarez Navarro. Five consecutive straight-sets wins have followed. Barty overwhelmed Anna Blinkova and Katerina Siniakova, before rebuffing the Round of 16 challenge from French Open champ Barbora Krejcikova 7-5 6-3 and thrashing compatriot Ajla Tomljanovic 6-1 6-3 in the quarter-finals.
The 25-year-old lifted again to subdue 2018 Wimbledon champ Angelique Kerber 6-3 7-6 in an outstanding semi-final display.
Pliskova carved a dominant path to the semis, accounting for Tamara Zidansek, Donna Vekic, Tereza Martinacova, Ludmilla Samsonova and Viktroija Golubic. She dropped more than six games just once (in the first round against Zidansek) and lost just three games on serve.
She found herself a set down against second seed Aryna Sabalenka but recovered for an epic 5-7 6-4 6-4 triumph.
Pliskova’s sensational fortnight at the All England Club was not widely anticipated. The 29-year-old lost her first-round matches in lead-in events in Berlin and Eastbourne. But she has played some of the best tennis of her career. Pliskova is hitting the ball so cleanly and playing with a freedom that has been missing from her game on the big stage for some time. Her serve has been incredible.
Barty, though, has all-round kitbag no player in women’s tennis can match at present. Her variety, versatility and ability to overcome rough patches in matches are the perfect tonics to the pressure of a Wimbledon final.
It should be a classic, but $1.43 favourite Barty has the edge.