Ash Barty Wins Wimbledon 50 Years After Her Idol Goolagong - UBITENNIS
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Ash Barty Wins Wimbledon 50 Years After Her Idol Goolagong

A record-breaking start to the final guided Barty to becoming the first top seed to win the women’s title since Serena Williams back in 2016.

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Ashleigh Barty (AUS) playing against Karolina Pliskova (CZE) in the final of the Ladies' Singles on Centre Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 12 Saturday 10/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jonathan Nackstrand

Ash Barty has become the first Australian woman to win the Wimbledon Championships in over 40 years after brushing aside an at times erratic Karolina Pliskova in the final.

 

Barty, who won the Wimbledon girls’ title 10 years ago, rallied to a 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3, roller-coaster win on Centre Court after almost two hours of play. The highly anticipated encounter was hindered by emotions throughout with Pliskova struggling to produce her best tennis as she leaked 31 unforced error errors. Barty herself also experienced her share of blips but they were not as substantial as she hit seven aces and 30 winners en route to the milestone victory.

“Karolina is an incredible competitor and she brought out the best in me today,” Barty said during her on-court interview. “It was an exceptional match right from the start and I knew I had to bring my very best level.’
“I was really proud of myself with how I was able to reset (after the second set) and just keep going.”

In what was the first women’s final featuring two debutants since 1977, Barty got off to a blistering start. A 14-point winning streak saw the Australian surge to a 3-0 lead in just 10 minutes as her opponent visibly struggled to contain her nerves. Setting a new Wimbledon record for most consecutive points ever won in a women’s final. Barty then worked her way to a double break at the expense of a Pliskova double fault on break point. A somewhat unexpected event considering Pliskova has dropped serve just four times across her six previous matches.

However, the world no.13 wasn’t the only player to falter during the opening set with Barty also struggling with her own issues. Closing in on taking a decisive lead, out of nowhere the top seed was unable to hold after getting broken twice in a row with one of those occurring when she was serving to take the set 6-1. Contending with an elevation in Pliskova’s level, Barty still had enough of a margin to close out the opener as she converted her first set points with the help of a forehand error from her opponent.

The roller-coaster continued into the second frame with both players exchanging blows. First it was Barty who broke to love and moved up to a set and 3-1 lead. However, two games later she experienced a taste of her own medicine by getting broken herself to love. Towards the business end Barty worked her way to 6-5 and had the chance to serve the match out but failed to seize the opportunity.

Pliskova’s resistance finally rewarded her in the tiebreak as she valiantly battled her way to a 6-2 lead. After failing to convert two set points, it was third time lucky after a double fault from the world No.1 sent the match into a decider.

With all to play for it would be a single break in Barty’s favour that would get her over the finish line. Another error-stricken Pliskova service game granted her a 2-0 lead at the start of the final set. Serving for the title, an ace down the line handed Barty her first championship point which she converted after a shot from across the court slammed into the net.

“It took me a long time to verbalise saying that I want to win this tournament and being able to live out my dream right now with everyone here has made it better than I could ever imagine,” said the new champion.
“I didn’t sleep a lot last night and was thinking about all the what ifs? But when I was coming out on this court I felt at home in a way.”
“I have to thank every single person in this stadium, you have made my dream so special.”
She added.

Throughout the tournament Barty has paid tribute to her idol and mentor Evonne Goolagong who won the title back in 1961. Her outfit for the tournament was inspired by what she wore at the event 50 years ago. Barty has previously said the ‘iconic dress’ has inspired both her and a generation of indigenous youth.

“I hope I made Yvonne proud,” Barty stated before starting to cry.

There is some silver lining for Pliskova who played in her first major final since 2016. She will move up the rankings to No.7 when they are updated on Monday. Her highest position since May.

I enjoyed every minute playing on this court,” the Czech said.
“I think she was playing an incredible tournament and it was an incredible match today. It wasn’t easy closing out the second set and I was fighting really hard but she played very well.”

Barty is the 11th active player to have won multiple Grand Slam titles after also previously triumphing at the 2019 French Open. At Wimbledon she is the fourth woman in the Open Era to have won both the junior and senior titles after Ann Jones, Martina Hingis and Amélie Mauresmo.

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Australia fights back from losing the first match to reach the Davis Cup final

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Australia fought back from losing the first singles match to beat Croatia 2-1 reaching its first Davis Cup in 19 years. 

 

Alex De Minaur cruised past Marin Cilic 6-2 6-2 in just 44 minutes to send the semifinal to decisive doubles match. Cilic made 10 double faults, as De Minaur broke four times to draw level to 2-2 in his head-to-head matches. De Minaur has improved his Davis Cup hard-court singles record to 10-1 in the Davis Cup. 

“This is what this team is about, that never say-die attitude. I have had a couple of instances when I have been in this position and I feel like my back is against the wall, and there is only a wall to break through, and that’s going forward steam ahead and just going after every single point. My job was to keep us alive, and I am happy to do anything I can do for my country”, said De Minaur. 

Jordan Thompson and Max Purcell came back from one set down to beat Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 6-4. Thompson and Purcell broke twice and never dropped a service game to come back from losing the first-set tie-break. 

The first set went on serve with no breaks of serve en route to the tie-break. Mektic and Pavic earned three mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-3. 

Thompson and Purcell broke serve in the 11th game to take a 6-5 lead and held serve in the 12th game to force the match to the decider. The Australian team broke again in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead and held their next two service games to close out the third set 6-4. 

Australia won its 28th and last title in 2003. 

“I am so proud. Australia has a rich history in this competition. We have been fortunate to win it all on a number of occasions. I know what it meant to me as a player to play a final, and I am glad these guys can play it”, said Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt. 

Australia will face either Italy or Canada in the final. 

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Borna Coric beats Thanasi Kokkinakis to give Croatia a 1-0 lead against Australia in Davis Cup semifinal in Malaga

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Borna Coric beat Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-4 6-3 after 1 hour and 32 minutes with a break in each set to give Croatia a 1-0 lead over Australia in the first match of the semifinal of the Davis Cup by Rakuten in Malaga. 

 

Coric hit 19 winners to just 9 unforced errors. 

Kokkinakis saved a break point in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. The Croatian player converted his third break point at deuce in the 10th game to close out the first set 6-4. 

Coric faced the only break point at the second set and earned the only break in the sixth game to seal the win 6-4 6-3. 

“This means a lot to me. I was watching the guys playing Davis Cup when I was injured and doing my rehab. To play for Croatia is an amazing feeling for me. I was turning to my coach in the first set and saying: ‘I don’t know what to do against his serve’, but I started to read it later on, and thankfully I was serving well myself. When I was younger, I did not serve so well and I needed to improve it. After my shoulder injury I did not know whether I would be able to serve again at all, but I did so much work on it that I serve even better now then I used to”, said Coric.

Alex De Minaur will face 2018 Davis Cup champion Marin Cilic. In their previous head-to-head matches Cilic leads 2-1 over De Minaur and beat the Australian player 6-1 5-7 6-4 in the Group Stage of the Davis Cup finals. 

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Bianca Andreescu Reunites With Former Coach Ahead Of New Season 

How will the Grand Slam champion fair on the Tour with her latest mentor?

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BIANCA ANDREESCU OF CANADA - PHOTO: ALBERTO NEVADO / MMO

Former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu has brought a familiar face back into her team as she bids to return to her best form in 2023. 

 

Andreescu, who is currently ranked 45th in the WTA rankings, has appointed Christophe Lambert as her latest coach. Lambert had been working as the performance director at Tennis New Zealand and resigned from that position to work with the former US Open champion. He had also previously worked for Tennis Canada and during that time he was a private coach for Andreescu in 2016. 

“Bianca asked me to coach her and I accepted the job. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Lambert told sport.co.nz. 

Lambert, who has also spent time working with the Chinese Davis Cup team and for the British LTA, has stayed in contact with Andreescu ever since coaching her six years ago. 

“It wasn’t like every week or every month. It’s always good to have people calling you when you are up, but when she was down I was checking on her and giving her my opinion.” He said. 

Andreescu had been working with Dutch coach Sven Groeneveld for over a year before they decided to end their collaboration in October. Groeneveld has a wealth of experience in the sport after working with a series of top names, including Maria Sharapova. 

This season the former world No.4 has won 20 out of 33 matches played with her best performance being a run to the final of the Bad Homburg Open in Germany. However, her record against top 10 opposition was 2-5.

“I’m just taking it day by day, and it’s a great way to end off the year as well, just bringing back all the emotions that fire a lot in me,” Andreescu recently told reporters in Glasgow at the Billie Jean King Cup. “I think I’m going to have a great preseason. Next year I really think I can crack the top 10 again.”

Andreescu, who has been hampered by injury issues in recent years, hasn’t won a singles title of any sort since 2019. 

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