World No 1 Ashleigh Barty storms to her first Wimbledon title after three-set battle with Karolina Pliskova and becomes first Australian to win at SW19 in 19 years
- Australian Ashleigh Barty has won the 2021 Wimbledon women’s singles title
- Barty beat Karolina Pliskova in three sets, the first long-haul final since 2012
- The top seed started strongly but Czech Pliskova fought back to win set two
- Latest Wimbledon updates, including schedule, build-up and results
Ash Barty authenticated her world number one status with a triumphant performance that brought her a first Wimbledon title.
The former French Open winner, who sat out so much tennis during the pandemic, showed that she has properly resumed being the world’s best player with a 6-3 6-7 6-3 victory that took an hour and 56 minutes.
The 25 year-old Australian took advantage of an initially nervy performance from an opponent who stands eight inches taller than her. By doing so she won on the same Centre Court that Evonne Goolagong did when she first won Wimbledon 50 years ago.
Ashleigh Barty won Wimbledon with a three-set 6-3 6-7 6-3 victory over Karolina Pliskova
The top seed produced a super display to cement her status as the best women’s player
She also became Australia’s first singles champion of either sex since Lleyton Hewitt in 2002, closing the match out with an edgy service game.
Throwing different spins and paces at the 6” 1’ Czech, Barty eventually built on a dominant start that at one point looked in danger of turning into an embarrassing rout. Pliskova recovered admirably to fully use her wingspan but was ultimately outfoxed by a more agile opponent.
The number eight seed took more than half an hour to get her fearsome serve going, and lost the first 14 points of the match, going halfway to losing what is known as a ‘Golden Set’. When she did get on the board it brought a huge cheer from the crowd which included figures as diverse as William and Kate, and Tom Cruise.
Barty became Australia’s first singles champion of either sex since Lleyton Hewitt in 2002
The women’s final was played out in front of a full Centre Court with Tom Cruise present
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the latter returning from quarantine, were also present
A strangely seesaw match saw seven of the first eleven games won to love before Pliskova found her bearings early in the second.
The slice of Barty, forcing her to get down low, always proved difficult, while the Australian’s return of serve was a more than adequate match for her biggest weapon.
Pliskova began to play much better in the second set and was in the ascendancy at 5-5 and 40-0 before losing five points in a row against the relentless slice of Barty.
Australian Barty began strong and broke Pliskova twice in the Czech’s first two service games
Pliskova put in a great fight to win the second set via a tiebreak despite falling a break behind
In this curious contest of sharp undulations, the Australian was then broken to fifteen after overhitting a series of forehands.
The tiebreak pivoted on a dramatic 7th point when Pliskova was helped by a fortunate netcord which allowed her to lob her diminutive opponent, and she took it 7-4 when Barty double faulted.
It was only the second time since 2006 that a Wimbledon women’s final has gone to a deciding set.
Pliskova was broken in its second game when she missed a sitter of a volley at the net. Barty held onto her serve but faced a break point at 5-3 after also missing a volley, but then recovered her nerve to win when the Czech netted a backhand, climbing into the stands to celebrate.
Barty and Pliskova put on an excellent show of top quality tennis to end the women’s draw
Sportsmail’s SAM BLITZ was on the live blog for coverage of the women’s Wimbledon final
Ash Barty collapses to the floor. She’s done it. Pliskova’s shot is into the net. Her first Wimbledon title. Her second Grand Slam title.
The tears are flowing, she can’t quite control it. Prince William applauds both players. Credit should go to Karolina Pliskova deserves great credit too. What a fighter she is.
But today is about Ash Barty. The player who gave up tennis for golf is not just the best in the world but unassailably so.
That’s the time to produce an ACE. Seventh of the match from Barty. Championship point.
More athleticism from Barty. Another backhand volley. Pliskova’s backhand is wide. Deuce. Break point saved.
WHAT A MISS FROM BARTY! Volley at the net, INTO the net. 30-40. Break point for Pliskova. This could change everything.
Pliskova lands a forehand right inside the baseline. 30-30.
Pliskova levels at 15-15. But there’s that slice again from Barty. It puts off Pliskova and a forehand goes wide. 30-15. Two to go.
Pliskova forces 40-30 by coming into the net with another volley. An ace keeps her alive in this match, just.
Barty now serving for the Championships.
Centre Court is a bit restless now. That’s probably because they’ve noticed Tom Cruise is in the building. And the volume raises even more as there’s pinball at the net.
Pliskova punches some efforts and Barty somehow gets the ball back on two or three occasions. The Czech wins the point with a third, calm punch.
Barty draws level with another overhead volley. Pliskova responds in the next point with a brilliant forehand that puts Barty on the backfoot and wins her the point.
But that’s not good from the Czech. A double fault puts it at 30-30. Barty two points away…
The backhand slice, which has worked so well for Ash Barty this afternoon, lets her down at the start of this game so Pliskova leads 0-15. A stunning overhead volley brings Barty level and a wonderful forehand groundstroke moves her to 30-15.
But the Czech is not giving up. Another wonderful forehand finds the corner and wrongfoots Barty. But a less impressive forehand gives Barty game point, which she takes.
Pliskova is now serving to stay in this final. Barty is one game, and possibly four points, from a first Wimbledon title.
Pliskova holds really well. You can sense Barty is not putting too much effort into the Czech’s service games and why should she? She’s nearly there…
There’s still only one break left between these two players though. One dodge Barty setback and we’re level again.
Pliskova sense a chance and hits a wonderful forehand up the line to force 30-30. But the Czech drifts a backhand wide at 40-30 and Barty edges closer to home.
Nearly two hours on court. Could this final be ending now?
Some entertaining points as Pliskova holds up her end of the bargain.
The Czech is moving right up to the net whenever she can and Barty is not going full throttle yet.
If there was a game to sum up this match so far it’s this one. Barty forces 40-0 to move her closer to the Championships, but Pliskova fights back to force 40-30. A baseline strike is just a bit too long and Barty does end up holding.
The top seed is moving a lot more freely than Pliskova at the moment, with the Czech starting to breathe a little heavier.
Pliskova has, I repeat HAS, to win this service game or it will be just a formality by that point.
Is the pressure getting to Pliskova now? A double fault puts her service game at 0-30 before what looks like a tired shot from the Czech forces three break points for Barty.
A wonderful passing shot up the line forces Barty to work for her break, but a simple volley at the net is missed by the Czech. Barty leads 2-0 in the decider.
This could be fatal for Pliskova, but you never know with this match. Barty has one hand on the SW19 title, but the champagne has been on and off a lot this afternoon…
Ash Barty, a set and a break up in this match, looks like she’s winning the first game of this deciding set with ease.
But Pliskova fights back again, showing the strength to force deuce. This match is just incredible. Barty doesn’t throw away game point number four. A brilliant match-up here. Time to dig deep.
Here we go on the decider. Ash Barty to serve first, she loses a set for the first time since round one.
Pliskova, meanwhile, is now playing her second straight three-set match. Is there anything left in the tank?
Pliskova sets up four set points on Centre Court. Barty claims two back but loses one on her serve! Pliskova is back in this!
It’s the first time the women’s singles final has gone to a deciding set in nearly a decade. What drama! Where will this turn? Stay tuned to find out.
Now then! Another shot into the net from Barty opens up a two-point lead for Pliskova. 4-2 she now leads at the change of ends.
And then what a rally! Serve and volley at the net from Barty but Pliskova fires a return that hits the top of the net and over. Barty gets there but she’s lobbed by Pliskova, who then fires a shot home up at the net.
Brilliant groundstroke from Pliskova levels this tiebreak up. Barty then slices into the net for on the second point on her serve. A roar from the Czech. 3-2 Pliskova.
Good rally on Barty’s first serve. Plsikova forces her so deep in Centre Court she’s changed London postcodes. But there’s the backhand slice again which travels just over the net.
Another slice at the net is one that Pliskova can’t return. 1-1.
Barty then hits a great baseline forehand which the Czech can’t reach. 2-1.
Boff! Good second serve from Pliskova gets her ahead in the tiebreak. 1-0
Now then, Barty rushes a return a there’s two break points for Pliskova – which she takes! Another error from the Australian – we’re going to a tiebreak.
Barty back in this. 15-15. Nearly there. Pliskova then hits a great backhand return to force 15-30.
The top seed has to work for this.
Here comes Barty, serving to win her first Wimbledon title. She’s the first Australian in the SW19 final for over 40 years…
That’s not a good start – double fault. 0-15.
The serving is so much better here from both players. We only had two in set one but we’re getting one or two a game now.
Pliskova forces 40-0 and a superb rally sees Barty fire a passing shot down the line, the Czech has already gone to the net and connects with the ball but a punch shot hits the top of the net and bounces down, not over.
That gives Barty a bit of confidence, another forehand winner down the line. 40-30 becomes deuce, for the first time on Centre Court in this match, as Pliskova fires a backhand wide.
Some excellent backhand defending from Barty creates frustration in Pliskova’s head and she shirks a forehand wide this time. Break point… another slice gets Barty ahead. She’s serving for the Championships.
Barty holds with some more excellent serving and the second set nudges along. Who will blink first?
There are shouts of ‘Come on Serena’ and ‘Come on Sabalenka’ in the Centre Court crowd. A couple of ‘It’s Coming Home’ too…
Here’s more from Sportsmail’s MIKE DICKSON on Centre Court…
Are we going to see what would be only the second three set women’s final at Wimbledon since 2006? Pliskova playing much better after a dreadful start.
Amazing tennis here. Another slice from Barty hits the line but Pliskova returns with a great backhand winner up the line. The Czech is gaining confidence here on Centre Court, the crowd is bellowing her on.
Some big aces help her to 5-4, just minutes after when she’d been staring in the jaws of defeat. Barty now serving to stay in set number two.
Barty takes hold of the new balls and races away with a brilliant forehand right into the top right-hand corner… but it’s called wide!
The Australian challenges – and it’s just nicked the line! A similar effort forces 30-0 and it’s just brushed the line again after Pliskova turned to HawkEye!
Another shot bounces off the baseline for 40-0 and the top seed clinches the game. A perfect service hold for Barty and it’s entertaining too. Second set is on a knifeedge.
Pliskova back in the lead in this second set. A 115mph serve forces 40-0 and while Barty shows some resistance, some hard-hitting from the Czech sees her edge to 4-3.
How the tables have turned. A bigger fist pump now from the player who trails in terms of sets.
Here comes Pliskova. She forces 0-30 and the crowd get right behind her. Some crucial points ahead if she wants to play in this final.
WOW! A wonderful forehand return up the line from Barty’s serve earns three break back points. A forehand shot into the net earns that break. Just what she needed.
We have a contest now.
Pliskova’s luck is running out. Barty gets into great form by hitting a forehand winner before a HawkEye call does not fall in the Czech’s favour and Barty applies pressure with 30-30.
But here comes Plsikova’s serve! The eighth seed just about manages to hold and stay in the set.
Topsy-turvy hold for Barty, who double faults for 30-30 but then earns game point with a cracking ace.
The Australian has extended her lead and Pliskova’s hopes are on a knife edge.
That’s a disaster of a game from Pliskova. A double fault at 0-30, wayward shots and unforced errors into the net. Barty gets three break points and another tired shot falls into the net.
The Wimbledon title is in sight for Barty. Can she hold her nerve?
Here’s what Sportsmail’s tennis reporter Mike Dickson had to say about that first set…
A strange facet of this match is how one-sided all the games are, with seven of them so far going to love. Barty’s slice is doing a lot of damage and Pliskova simply has to improve her winning percentage on serve to exert some pressure. The crowd want to see a proper match, which is garnering the Czech some support.
Ash Barty claims another hold with relative ease and some big serving. It looks like we’ve got a contest now.
A crucial point in this Wimbledon final now. Pliskova has to keep her serve under control or this one may be finished rather early…
Back underway for the second set and there’s hope in the air for Pliskova, who recovers from some early pressure to take the first game.
A fist pump from the Czech and the crowd is getting on her side. The capacity crowd at SW19 wants more tennis.
After a few setbacks, Barty is back and claims the first set she arguably deserves on Centre Court.
The aggression is back after racing into a 5-1 lead. She’s now six games away from a first Wimbledon title.
Ok, here we go. Pliskova has her tail now up.
A brilliant hold for 40-0 sees her claw another blow off Barty’s back. We might have a contest in this set after all…
Barty looks wounded, but she’s serving for the set again. She couldn’t be broken again, surely?
Utterly brilliant from Barty. A very good rally sees another excellent backhand drop shot which draws Pliskova into the net. The Czech hammers an aggressive ground stroke to the back of the court but Barty scoops a fabulous crosscourt winner which beats the Czech.
But Pliskova continues the aggression and forces two break points. An excellent Barty serve is met with another top winner this afternoon. The top seed has now lost her last two service games.
If only we’d seen this from Pliskova about 10 minutes ago.
For the first time this afternoon, we’re starting to see a bit of the Plsikova serve. She forces 30-15 but two more errors lead to another break point for Barty.
A shot goes long from the Czech and Barty is now serving for the set.
If this carries on, we’re going to have a pretty clear afternoon in our diaries.
An incredible miss from Barty at the net shows the first signs of weakness from the top seed. That sets up 0-30 and a flicker of hope for Pliskova to save this set.
Pliskova then makes it 0-40 and a tired shot into the net gives the Czech a first route back into this match.
Did Barty get off the mark too quickly?
Pliskova tries to calm down and plays a superb cross-court drop shot which dips brilliantly over the net. That is bettered by a superb slice by Barty who forces another unforced error.
The world No 1 has all the answers and another forehand down the line makes it 15-0 in terms of points.
Pliskova finally gets a point at the 16th time of asking and the crowd cheers loudly. But another slice from Barty sets up two more break points.
A foot fault shows some more nerves but she saves one. A double fault caps off a terrible start for Pliskova.
The Czech has been broken just four times in the past fortnight, she’s now suffered two set backs in her opening two service games here.
Ash Barty’s serving is brilliant here. The Australian is hitting the lines brilliantly and holds her serve for 40-0.
Pliskova has not won a single point yet. Nothing to work with at all.
Ashleigh Barty is in the mood here. A superb lob from the baseline beats Pliskova all ends up for 0-30, an incredible effort given the Czech was not far off her baseline.
An unforced error from Pliskova earns three break points and a brilliant backhand up the line from Barty seals it.
The Czech player is nervous here. Barty is already up and running.
Simple hold for Barty. Assured baseline strokes with a couple of big unreturned serves.
Solid start from the top seed.
We’re up and running on Centre Court for the women’s singles final. Ash Barty to serve…
Some royal attendees in SW19 this afternoon.
Both sets of players are now on Centre Court. Imagine the nerves going through their body right now.
Both sets of players have never won the Wimbledon title before. The two players have just one Grand Slam title, Barty’s French Open final win in 2019, between them.
Once in a lifetime opportunity.
Here’s your ten-minute warning until play gets underway on Centre Court. The atmosphere is building ahead of the women’s singles final.
An update on the conditions: the Centre Court roof is opening to make it an outdoor final.
The weather experts at SW19 clearly believe the rain will stay away over the course of two or three sets.
It will be interesting to see how Pliskova’s serve changes with the roof now open…
A Wimbledon final is a rare and unique moment, but these two have met several times before in their careers.
Barty has enjoyed the better recent record, winning the last three matches – though most of their encounters have come on a hard surface.
On grass, both players have won one each. Barty won in three sets in Nottingham in 2012 but PLiskova claimed a straight sets victory four years later at the same venue.
All to play for.
And just a reminder that the men’s final starts at around this time tomorrow. Novak Djokovic takes on Italian seventh seed Matteo Berretini on Centre Court.
The Serbian world No 1 is chasing a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam and put him in pole position to finish on more major tournament wins than Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Tom Cruise, Dame Maggie Smith and Katherine Jenkins are just a few of the famous faces attending Wimbledon today for Ladies’ Finals Day.
Will it be a Mission Impossible for Pliskova today?
Here’s everything you need to know about Karolina Pliskova, the eighth seed trying to find the upset needed to take down Ash Barty.
The 29-year-old has been excellent in the tournament and did not drop a set until the semi-final against second seed Aryna Sabalenka. The Czech player also has incredible consistency within matches and her serve is her key.
How do you rate Pliskova’s chances this afternoon?
Round 1: Tamara Zidansek – 7-5 6-4
Round 2: Donna Vekic – 6-2 6-2
Round 3: Tereza Martincova – 6-3 6-3
Round 4: Ludmilla Sansonova – 6-2 6-3
Quarter-final: Viktorija Golubic – 6-2 6-2
Semi-final: Aryna Sabalenka – 5-7 6-4 6-4
Here’s the lowdown on Ashleigh Barty, who was one of the favourites to lift the SW19 trophy.
She has only dropped one set in the past fortnight, in the first round against Carla Suarez Navarro, and has won ten straight sets in a row.
The 2019 French Open champion has been at the top of the women’s game since then and is undoubtedly the favourite. Here’s who she has beaten on the way to the final:
Round 1: Carla Suarez Navarro – 6-1 6-7 6-1
Round 2: Anna Blinkova – 6-4 6-3
Round 3: Katerina Siniakova – 6-3 7-5
Round 4: Barbaro Krejcikovia – 7-5 6-3
Quarter-final: Alja Tomljanovic – 6-1 6-3
There will be a new name on the Wimbledon women’s singles trophy this year – but who will it be?
Top seed Ashleigh Barty has mostly breezed through the two weeks at Wimbledon but has never won at SW19 before. Meanwhile, Karolina Pliskova is just in her second Grand Slam title
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