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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Felix Auger Aliassime leads the ATP Next Gen Race to Milan

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Felix Auger Aliassime rose to the top of the ATP Next Gen Race to Milan after strong performances at Wimbledon, Cincinnati and at the uS Open. 

 

After reaching the quarter final at Wimbledon the Canadian player advanced to the last eight at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati before losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas. It was the second time he reached the quarter final in a Masters 1000 tournament. 

At the US Open the 21-year-old Canadian player edged Roberto Bautista Agut in a five-set match before beating Frances Tiafoe to reach the semifinals. Auger Aliassime became the first Canadian player to reach the semifinals at the US Open in the tournament history and the youngest player since Juan Martin Del Potro won the tournament in 2009. 

“I am happy with the level I have been playing at times, with the results I have had. It’s a positive week. Things are moving in the right direction”, said Auger Aliassime. Carlos Alcaraz has become the fourth player to secure a spot in the Next Gen ATP Finals after Auger Aliassime, Jannik Sinner and Sebastian Korda. Alcaraz became the youngest US Open quarter finalist in the Open Era after scoring an upset third-set win over Stefanos Tsitsipas. The player coached by Juan Carlos Ferrero also won the ATP 250 title in Umag and reached the semfinals in Marbella and Winston Salem.

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Liudmila Samsonova sets up semifinal against Jelena Ostapenko in Luxembourg

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Liudmila Samsonova upset this year’s Olympic champion Belinda Bencic 6-1 6-4 with three breaks of serve to reach her third semifinal of the season at the Luxembourg Open. 

 

Samsonova broke twice in the second and sixth games to win the first set 6-1. The Russian player claimed the second set 6-1 with a break in the third game and sealed the win on her first match point. 

Samsonova beat Bencic for the second time this season after beating the Swiss player in the final of the WTA grass tournament in Berlin. 

Bencic dropped serve three times in her first tournament since reaching the quarter finals at the US Open where she lost to eventual champion Emma Raducanu. 

Samsonova will face 2019 Luxemburg Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, who edged past Alizé Cornet 7-6 (8-6) 6-2. Ostapenko improved her winning streak to 8-0. Ostapenko went down a break twice in the first set. Cornet earned a chance to serve for the set at 5-4, but Ostapenko did not face any set point. Ostapenko saved the first set point in the tie-break before earning the mini-break to win the tie-break 8-6. Ostapenko broke twice in the third and seventh games to win the second set 6-2. 

Marketa Vondrousova completed the semifinal line-up with a 7-5 6-2 win over number 2 seed Elise Mertens after 1 hour and 37 minutes. Mertens broke serve in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead. Vondrousova won four consecutive games with two breaks to take a 7-5 lead. The Czech player broke twice in a row in the third and fifth games to win the second set 6-2. 

Clara Tauson broke twice in each set to beat Marie Bouzkova 6-3 6-2. 

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Venus Williams Explains Met Gala Photo With Maria Sharapova

The former world No.1 says she and her sister Serena have ‘respect and love’ for Sharapova.

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Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams at the 20201 Met Gala (image via Instagram)

Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams says there are no hard feelings between her, her sister Serena and Maria Sharapova after the trio took a photo together at the Met Gala.

 

The former world No.1s was seen smiling and laughing together at the New York fundraising event with both of the Williams sisters uploading a photo of them all on their Instagram story. Prompting surprise from some fans considering the at times icy rivalry between Serena and Sharapova that dates back to the 2004 Wimbledon Championships.

In her 2017 autobiography, Unstoppable: My Life So Far, Sharapova mentioned Serena’s name more than 100 times. She says the American hated her for beating her at Wimbledon that year and that the two were ‘not friends.’

“What I heard when I came in to the locker room was Serena Williams bawling,” Sharapova wrote.
“Guttural sobs. I got out as quickly as I could, but she knew I was there.
“I think Serena hated me for being the skinny kid who beat her, against all odds … I think she hated me for seeing her at her lowest moment.
“But mostly I think she hated me for hearing her cry. She’s never forgiven me for it.”

Responding to the claims, Serena hit back at the book in 2018 by describing it as ‘hearsay’ and said she never had any ‘negative feelings’ towards Sharapova. The two clashed on the Tour no fewer than 22 times with Serena winning 20 of those meetings.

“So I don’t have any negative feelings towards her, which again, was a little disappointing to see in that hearsay book,” Williams commented back in 2018. “So I have always, you know, and especially having a daughter, like, I feel like negativity is taught. One of the things I always say, I feel like women, especially, should bring each other up.”

Three years later and it now seems that all parties have put their disagreements behind them. At the Met Gala they were seen getting on pretty well. Besides posing for a photo together, they were also seen together in the bathroom at the event. A photo taken by pop star Anitta and rapper Saweetie which showed them in the background.

Speaking about the event for the first time, 41-year-old Williams said she wishes Sharapova was still playing before adding that they still ‘respect and love’ each other.

“First of all, Serena and I were talking about Maria the day before,” the 41-year-old explained on Instagram.
“We were like, ‘Damn, I wish Maria was still playing.’
“And we saw her, and we both told her separately, ‘Oh my gosh, we were just talking about you yesterday, we wish you were still on tour.’
“We were so happy to see each other. There was hugs, there was laughing, there were stories, and there was a photo.
“So the backstory is that even though us players compete really hard of the court for years, we still respect and love each other, and love Maria
.”

Williams, Serena and Sharapova have won a total of 35 Grand Slam singles titles between them.

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