Barty beats Kerber to reach first Wimbledon final


Top seed Ash Barty became the first Australian woman to reach the Wimbledon singles final for 41 years after beating former champion Angelique Kerber 6-3, 7-6(3) on Thursday.

The 25-year-old will now aim to emulate Evonne Goolagong who won the second of her two Wimbledon crowns in 1980.

After saving a breakpoint in a nervy opening game on a sunny Centre Court, world number one Barty was supreme in the first set as her all-court game flowed on the grass.

The 33-year-old Kerber used all her experience on the surface to hit back in the second set and looked poised to take it into a decider when serving at 5-3.

But Barty got back in the groove and broke to love.
Kerber’s game went off in the tiebreak and Barty surged into a 6-0 lead and despite missing out on three match points she was never going to let her opportunity slip.

A netted backhand from Kerber sent Barty through to her second Grand Slam final, having won the French Open in 2019.

She will face Karolina Pliskova or second seed Aryna Sabalenka in Saturday’s showpiece — the first time since 1977 that both finalists are in their maiden Wimbledon final.

Former Wimbledon junior champion Barty was forced to pull out of the French Open because of a hip injury that needed intensive rehab in the build-up to the Championships.

After a tricky start when she lost a set against Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro in the first round, Barty has warmed to the task of following in the footsteps of Goolagong on the 50th anniversary of her first Wimbledon title.

And she took it up another level against former world number one Kerber who has returned to form after a slump.

“This is incredible, this is close to as good a tennis match as I will ever play,” Barty, who like trailblazer Goolagong is proud of her indigenous Australian heritage.

“Angie brought the best out of me today and it was a hell of a match right from the first ball and I knew I would have to play that well just to compete. Very proud of myself and my team and now we get a chance to win the childhood dream.”