Wimbledon 2021: Karolina Pliskova to face Ash Barty in final after defeating Aryna Sabalenka

·5-min read

It's women's semifinals day at Wimbledon, and by the end we'll know who will be playing on Saturday for the trophy. In the first game, Ashleigh Barty is trying to get to her first Wimbledon final and her first Grand Slam final since she won the 2019 French Open, while Angelique Kerber is looking to continue her unexpected run after a few disappointing seasons. In the second game, Karolina Pliskova will be attempting to avenge her recent fall out of the WTA top-10, while Aryna Sabalenka is trying to get to her first Grand Slam final.

Who will we see in the final? Check back here for all the results.

Karolina Pliskova out-serves Aryna Sabalenka

The match between Aryna Sabalenka and Karolina Pliskova was as hard fought as any at Wimbledon so far. Every set, every game, every point was a battle. Sabalenka was playing for her very first trip to a Grand Slam final, and Pliskova was playing for her first Grand Slam finals appearance since the 2016 U.S. Open.

Sabalenka will have to wait for her first finals appearance, because Pliskova took the match 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 and will face Ash Barty in the Wimbledon finale.

This match was a clash of the giant serves. Sabalenka used it to fight off eight straight break points in the first set, then Pliskova used hers to regroup and change the momentum in the second set. Both played highlight reel tennis, continually trading eye-popping shots.

Sabalenka played every point like it was her last, like at any moment Wimbledon officials could come out onto the court and tell her that she'd lost due to a little-known rule violation. She took huge risks, and while they paid off in the first set, halfway through the second set they began to backfire on her. She really began beating herself, reaching for shots that weren't hittable or rushing and sending balls into the net. Her serve also began to desert her, which is when panic appeared to set in.

By comparison, Pliskova stayed calm throughout, even when she was trying and failing to catch up to Sabalenka in the first set. She never panicked, and her steadiness paid off. After Sabalenka powered her way to a first set victory, Pliskova took the second set with consistent, measured play, taking advantage of Sabalenka's weakness on second serve.

It all came down to the third set. Pliskova took a 4-2 lead, and it was up to Sabalenka to respond. She tried, taking two more games, but Sabalenka's panic gave Pliskova the chances she needed to nail down the final two games.

Barty shows strength in victory over Kerber

Just a month after being forced to retire from the French Open due to injury, Ashleigh Barty is headed to her first Wimbledon final, defeating Angelique Kerber 6-3, 7-6 (3) in a match that lasted just short of 90 minutes.

It was a statement win for the No. 1-seeded Barty, who showed off power and a killer instinct. She dominated easily at the start, taking the first three games while Kerber couldn't get anything going. Kerber finally broke through in the fourth game and got on the board, but she couldn't quite make a comeback. Barty was simply on fire.

Momentum shifted drastically at the start of the second set. Kerber came out swinging, nailing down the first three games in quick succession. But then Barty began clawing back with increasing intensity. Down 5-2, she won the next three games, getting stronger with each point. By the time Barty had evened up the score at 5-5, she had won 10 straight points. Coming all the way back from three games down, Barty forced a tiebreak at 6-6.

She didn't let up, winning the first six points of the tiebreak. Kerber, facing the possibility of being bageled in the tiebreak of a set she'd once led by three games, managed to dig deep and scrape out three points before handing Barty the win with an unforced error.

From the middle of the second set forward, Barty dictated the pace of the game, sending Kerber all around the court to return balls that were hit deep and hugged the line. Kerber simply didn't have an answer for Barty's strength and power.

Barty's win puts an end to Kerber's exciting and unexpected run at Wimbledon. She was seeded No. 25, but she played like the grass court specialist we routinely saw a few years ago when she was the 2018 Wimbledon champ. She's struggled since that win, so maybe this will be the confidence booster she needs to get back on track.

Barty, who said that playing in the Wimbledon final is her dream, will face either No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka or No. 8 Karolina Pliskova.

Australia's Ashleigh Barty celebrates winning a point against Germany's Angelique Kerber during their women's semi-final match on the tenth day of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 8, 2021. - Barty won the match. - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by AELTC/Jed Leicester / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by AELTC/JED LEICESTER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Ash Barty is headed to her first Wimbledon final. (Photo by AELTC/JED LEICESTER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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