Barty wins first Wimbledon title on Cawley’s birthday

Winning moment: Ashleigh Barty celebrates her victory.

Winning moment: Ashleigh Barty celebrates her victory.

LONDON: Ashleigh Barty won her first Wimbledon title on the 50th anniversary of the first crown of fellow Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley, beating Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 6-3 in final Saturday.

The 25-year-old Australian – who wore a specially designed dress in homage to the iconic Cawley scallop she sported in 1971 – adds the Wimbledon crown to her 2019 Roland Garros title.

“It took me a long time to verbalize it, to dare to dream it and say it,” said Barty, who also had a childhood dream.

“I didn’t get much sleep last night, I was thinking about all the assumptions. I hope I made Evonne proud.”

It was the first Wimbledon women’s final to go in straight sets since 2012, when Serena Williams beat Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska.

Barty is also the first seed to win the women’s title since Williams in 2016.

Barty looked like he was heading for victory after taking a 4-0 lead over her opponent – the Australian debut so dazzling she took home the first 14 points.

However, 29-year-old Pliskova stabilized while Barty faltered when she served for the game at 6-5 in the second set.

The Czech broke then swept away the tiebreaker to take the final in a decisive one.

Barty got the break for 2-0 in the last set and despite a wobble or two she found herself over the line falling to her knees, her hands on her face in disbelief.

She wiped away a few tears before stepping up to the players’ box, just as her compatriot Pat Cash did when he won the Wimbledon men’s title in 1987.

The victory would also taste sweeter as just last month she retired from Roland Garros in the second round with a left hip injury.

“It’s amazing,” said Barty, the third Australian to be crowned singles champion at Wimbledon in the Open era (Cawley and Margaret Court (1970) the others).

“I have to start with Kaja (Karolina Pliskova).

“Congratulations on an incredible tournament to you and your team. I love testing myself against you and I’m sure we will have a lot of games.”

“I never cry … now”

Barty is masterful at remaining impassive on the court and she managed to contain her emotions during the presentation ceremony.

However, once off the pitch, she sobbed as she hugged her boyfriend Gary Kissick.

For Pliskova, it was even more heartbreaking as the former world number one fell on the final hurdle in three sets in the 2016 US Open final.

At one point, with Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise, it seemed possible, however, that she could pull off an impossible mission by winning the title.

However, her previously superb weapon – her serve that had only been broken four times before the final – gave her up when she needed it most.

Much like her emotions as Pliskova – the fourth Czech woman to make a singles final at Wimbledon in the Open era – was expressed after receiving the runner-up trophy.

Her tears, however, were not comparable to those shed by her late compatriot Jana Novotna when she lost the 1993 final and had to be consoled by the Duchess of Kent.

Perhaps some consolation for Pliskova is that Novotna recovered from this loss and won the title in 1998.

“I never, ever, and now cry,” Pliskova said, stepping back a little.

“I mean Ash [Barty] played an amazing tournament i fought to make it difficult for her but she played great so kudos to her.

“I want to thank my whole team. All success is theirs, without them I wouldn’t be here, and my family of course.

“No matter what trophy I have, we had an amazing two weeks here.”

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