COMMENT: Karolina Pliskova Never Fully Recovered Against Barty At Wimbledon - UBITENNIS
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COMMENT: Karolina Pliskova Never Fully Recovered Against Barty At Wimbledon

James Beck reflects on the roller-coaster women’s final which saw Barty become the first Australian to win the women’s title since 1980.




Karolina Pliskova (CZE) playing against Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) in the semi-final of the Ladies' Singles on Centre Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 10 Thursday 08/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Simon Bruty

Karolina Pliskova’s hopes for winning her first Grand Slam title were virtually doomed from the start of Saturday’s Wimbledon women’s singles final.


She literally didn’t show up for the first 14 points of the match. It wasn’t that Ashleigh Barty was doing anything real special, except play perfect tennis.

Basically, Pliskova didn’t play competitive tennis in the first four games of the match. She didn’t look like a former world’s No. 1 player. Even Chrissie Evert said, “This is a little disappointing.”

With Pliskova appearing to play half-heartedly, Barty unofficially hit four winners, two aces and four unreturnable serves before committing her first error on the 15th point when she netted a backhand. The good-natured Australian isn’t perfect after all.


Pliskova wasn’t finished with charity. Just when it appeared she might actually win the match after taking the second set, she gave away four of the five points in her first service game in the third set en route to a love-3 start.

The sandwich set between the first and third sets really didn’t matter in the end, although both players played reasonably well and hit some great shots. However, Pliskova never seriously threatened to win the match.

Barty is the Wimbledon women’s singles champion for the first time. The two-time Grand Slam champion is now widely acknowledged as the best player in the women’s game.


Getting this one out of the way with a 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3 victory, of course, was a big deal for the always likable 5-5 Australian. She showed a few nervous moments of her own, enough that she allowed Pliskova to take the second set and almost enough to let Pliskova recover from the service break in the second game of the third set.

By the way, the service break that decided the third set was a true gift from Pliskova. It went like this for the Czech: backhand error, double fault and forehand error for 0-40, then a forehand winner before netting a novice-looking forehand volley from nearly on top of the net.


Things like Pliskova’s gifts to Barty occur often in sports.

Remember the great Roger Federer’s relative give-me swinging volley error and slip two points later on a simple overhead put-away at the net in the tiebreaker that likely cost him the second set in his straight-set loss to Hubert Hurkacz in the Wimbledon men’s quarterfinals?

Who knows what might have happened if Federer hadn’t had those two unlucky mishaps that put the Swiss great in a 4-2 hole in the tiebreaker. He might even have made it to the final against Novak Djokovic. 


Barty and Pliskova both had their own wildly fan-pleasing moments.

As it turned out, the 6-1 Pliskova is actually a lot quicker and mobile than it sometimes appears.

On one spectacular display of talent in the second-set tiebreaker, Barty came up with what looked like a winning drop shot and charged the net after it, but Pliskova got a racket on the ball and lobbed it over Barty’s head only to see Barty chase the ball down and put up another shot.

 Pliskova was waiting in the middle of the net to smash Barty’s shot away. That one was much more exciting than my description makes it sound.


Barty’s most exciting play may have been the one on the first point of the match’s last game when Pliskova ran down a ball on the baseline with Barty heading to the net. Quickly retreating from the net with her back to the net, the athletic Barty leaped high into the air and stretched out fully to put away a backhand volley.

Other than those games and instances that went completely bad for Pliskova, the 29-year-old Czech pretty much matched Barty off the ground and serving. Pliskova’s big strokes kept Barty off the net much of the match.


See James Beck’s Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier columns at (search on James Beck column). James Beck can be reached at 

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Carlos Alcaraz becomes the youngest ever champion at ATP Tour level since Kei Nishikori in 2008




Carlos Alcaraz beat Richard Gasquet 6-2 6-2 in the final of the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag becoming the youngest ever champion at ATP Tour level since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori in Delray Beach in 2008 and the youngest Spanish ATP Tour champion since RafaelNadal in Sopot 2004. 


Alcaraz earned his first break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead with an inside-in forehand winner and he never looked back by holding his next service games. The Spanish teenager broke serve in the third game as Gasquet made a double fault. Alcaraz converted his third break point in the fifth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Gasquet earned three break points but he was not able to convert them. 

“I had a lot of good moments in this tournament. I beat five great tennis players. I think that I grew up a lot in this tournament and  I keep a lot of experience from this tournament. It’s going to be useful for the future”, said Alcaraz. 

Gasquet was aiming to win his first ATP Tour title since s’Hertogenbosch in 2018. 

“It was tough for me to play with his full intensity. I had a tough match yesterday. It was tough, and especially with a guy like Carlos, who is playing really fast with a lot of energy and spin. He is playing unbeievable. He is only 18 and of course he had a great future and Ijust could not play at his level and his intensity”, said Gasquet. 

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Spanish Next Gen star Carlos Alcaraz edged past third seed Filip Krajinovic 7-6 (7-3) 3-6 6-1 after 2 hours and 18 minutes to reach his second tour-level semifinal at the Playa Laguna Croatia Open in Umag. 


Alcaraz has become the second youngest semifinalist in Umag tournament history. Nadal was the only player who reached the semifinal in Umag at a younger age. Nadal achieved this feat at the age of 17. 

Alcaraz broke serve in the fourth game at deuce to open up a 4-1 lead. Krajinovic broke back in the seventh game to claw his way back to 3-4. Both players traded breaks in the eighth and ninth games and held their next service games en route to the tie-break. Alcaraz earned four mini-breaks to take a 7-3 lead. 

Krajinovic broke twice in the second and eighth games to win the second set 6-2. Alcaraz got three breaks to claim the third set 6-1. The Spaniard attacked a second serve on break point in his first return game of the third set and hit a forehand volley to earn the break. Alcaraz did no drop his serve in his next service games to set up a semifinal against his compatriot Albert Ramos Vinolas, who cruised past Stefano Travaglia 6-1 6-1 after 68 minutes. Ramos Vinolas went up a 2-0 lead with an early break. Travaglia broke straight back in the third game. Ramos Vinolas broke twice in the fourth and eighth games to win the second set 6-2. 

The Spaniard earned two more breaks in the second and sixth games to claim the third set 6-2. 

Richard Gasquet edged past Damir Dzumhur 6-3 7-6 (9-7). Gasquet fended off a break point in the opening game before breaking serve in the second game. Dzumhur earned another break point in the fifth game but Gasquet saved it to open up a 4-1 lead. Gasquet served out for the first set in the ninth game. 

The Frenchman broke Dzumhur in the third game to take a 2-1 lead and earned a chance for the double break, but Dzumhur saved three break points to claw his way back to 3-4.

Gasquet was not able to convert any of his three break points in the seventh game and Dzumhur broke back in the eighth game. 

Gasquet broke serve in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead, but he was no able to serve out for the match in the 10th game. Gasquet earned a chance to get another break in the 11th game, but Dzumhur saved two break points to take a 6-5 lead. 

Gasquet served out the 12th game to force a tie-break. Gasquet converted his third match point to reach the semifinal. 

Gasquet set up a semifinal clash against Daniel Altmeier, who beat Dusan Lajovic 6-2 6-3. Gasquet has become the oldest semifinal in the tournament’s 31-year history behind Paolo Lorenzi, who reached the 2017 semifinal. 

“I started well. I could not manage to break him at 4-2 in the second set and then I struggled a little bit on my serve. It was tough, but I fought a lot to finish the match in the second set. It was a great tie-break and important to win. I need to be physically ready to go further, as I try to reach the final”, said Gasquet. 

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Vikhlyantseva made 11 double faults, including six in the second set. Sharma came back from 0-4 down by winning six consecutive game to take the first set 6-4. The Australian player was broken back, when she was serving for the match. 

Sharma set up a quarter final against Danielle Collins, who beat Maddison Inglis from Australia 6-4 6-1 after 1 hour and 20 minutes. Sharma has never met Collins before. 

After three trades of break Collins broke serve at love in the 10th game to win the first set 6-4. Collins broke twice in the first and sixth games to win the second set 6-1. 

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Lucia Bronzetti beat 2011 US Open Junior champion Grace Min 6-3 6-1. Bronzetti broke serve in the second game of the first set to take a 2-0 lead. Min broke straight back in the third game. Bronzetti converted her third break point in the eighth game to win the first set 6-3. 

Bronzetti went up a 3-0 lead with two breaks after two very long games. Min pulled back one break back in the fourth game, but Bronzetti earned two breaks in the fifth and seventh games to win the second set 6-1. 

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