Ashleigh Barty vs Karolina Pliskova, Wimbledon 2021 women’s final: live score and latest updates

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Ashleigh Barty vs Karolina Pliskova, Wimbledon 2021 women’s final: live score and latest updates


isn tennis, there is an exclusive club that few people want to join: that of the former world No. 1 who have never won a grand slam title.

Among the former students of women’s and men’s tennis, there are only three players of the open era who fit the description: Jelena Jankovic, Dinara Safina and Marcelo Rios. Among the active players, only one: Karolina Pliskova. On Saturday, she has the option of finally canceling her membership, as she tries to beat world No.1 Ashleigh Barty to the Wimbledon title and finally save her previous ranking.

She came so close five years ago, in the 2016 US Open final. She eventually lost, but the following season reached her No.1 ranking and was touted as a future definitive champion.

“Five years ago we thought she was next to win a major tournament,” said three-time major champion Tracy Austin. “Then we thought his time was up. [There is] a big difference between winning a major tournament and not winning one when you retire. It may start to go into your head, and I think everyone would want that tag removed. “

Pliskova, 29, has long been the best player to ever reach the top of the sport. She replaced Dane Caroline Wozniacki, who carried the burden for much of her career, before winning the Australian Open in 2018. This is something that can weigh down a player and can mean that he is systematically underestimated.

Earlier this week, Pliskova complained that she was not scheduled on a show court before the quarter-finals. But this is not very surprising as she has lowered the hierarchy in recent years. Since reaching the semi-finals of the 2019 Australian Open, the Czech has failed to make it through the fourth round of the last eight majors.

Even her start to 2021 was poor, dropping the top 10 for the first time since 2016. Her new coach, Sascha Bajin, who previously assisted Naomi Osaka in her first two majors and was Serena Williams’ striking partner, says the mental hurdle of reaching that first major title is something he and Pliskova discussed.

“It’s something she wanted so badly – the problem becomes if you want something so badly, it’s as bad as not wanting it enough,” he said yesterday. “It kind of paralyzes you and it looks like you don’t care, when it’s quite the opposite. “

To alleviate the pressure, at the Australian Open in January he told her to take each game one at a time – to treat it the same as any other tournament. But Pliskova came out in the third round and then in the second round to the French in May. So he did an about-face for Wimbledon.

“This time I was like, ‘Look, you’re going to win this, you’re going to be here for two weeks.’ I wanted to put that in his head every day, ”he said, adding with a smile,“ At least it worked. ” That’s what he did. Pliskova has lost just one set in her race to SW19, leads the ace table and has lost serve only four times. The pressure of waiting doesn’t seem to bother her in any way, looking more relaxed than she has been in years.

Usually one to keep her emotions at bay on the pitch, against second seed Aryna Sabalenka in the semifinals, she showed frustration after losing the first set and even laughed at her poor ball throw on the ball. match. It was a spectacle as refreshing as his top tennis. Martina Navratilova, who won 18 major titles, believes Bajin’s influence was key.

“This is where Sascha had a big influence on her, just relaxing her,” she said. “The way she behaves on the pitch is a different person now. It’s probably the best tennis she’s ever played – better than when she beat Serena Williams five years ago in the US Open semifinals.

She will have to beat world number one Barty to become the fifth oldest major winner of the open era today. Only then will she have her name etched in the history books for tennis’s most coveted prize – and wipe the sport’s most unwanted statistic from her record.

By Molly McElwee

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