World number one Ash Barty became the first Australian to win the Wimbledon singles title for 41 years on Saturday, defeating Czech Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3 in the final.
The 25-year-old Barty, who won her first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros in 2019, imitated her idol Yvonne Gulagong who clinched her second All England Club title in 1980.
“I hope I can be proud of Yvonne,” Barty said on the court after presenting the trophy. “This is incredible.”
Ten years after winning the girls’ singles title at Wimbledon when she was aged 15, Barty reached Saturday’s final after winning five of the seven matches she played against Pliskova.
She took a 4-0 lead against the former world number one with a double break.
Pliskova appeared all at sea against sharply falling Australian slides and precision hits, but she managed to get back into the competition by earning two servings. But a third break gave Barty the first set.
The Australian maintained control in the second set, breaking the third game to lead 3-1 but Pliskova found higher strength to settle matters at 3-3.
With Barty serving the match, Pliskova, who suffered a 40-0 break, immediately returned to force a tiebreaker and then regained her confidence to tie the match at 1-1.
The Australian managed to regroup and jumped to a 3-0 lead in the deciding set with an early break, which proved to be enough.
Barty converted her first match point when Pliskova committed an involuntary foul with a backhand kick, finishing 32nd in the match.
The Australian fell to her knees and broke down in tears, saying later that she was unable to remember what happened on match point.
“I brought my best today,” Barty added.
“I was proud of myself because I could keep playing away at the start of the third set. It took me a while to say I wanted to win this tournament, but it’s better than I could have ever imagined.
“I didn’t sleep last night…but I felt at home out on the field.”