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Tennis

Barty into Wimbledon final

Tennis

Ash Barty has become Australia’s first women’s singles finalist at Wimbledon since 1980 after defeating former champion Angelique Kerber in straight sets in their semi-final on Thursday.

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Living up to her world No.1 billing, the Queenslander said she’d never played such a fine match after prevailing 6-3 7-6 (7-3) in what she had called her “ultimate test” against the rejuvenated three-time grand slam winner on Centre Court.

She had to produce some supreme tennis to fight back from 5-2 down in the second set and prevailed after playing an immaculate tiebreak to move into her second grand slam final after one hour 27 minutes.

The 25-year-old Australian will tackle Karolina Pliskova in the final, after the tall, big-serving Czech blitzed 14 aces as she defeated Aryna Sabalenka 5-7 6-4 6-4 in the other semi-final.

Barty, the first Australian women’s finalist since her idol and mentor Evonne Goolagong won the title in 1971 and 1980.

She is also Australia’s first singles finalist – man or woman – at the All England Club since Mark Philippoussis lost to Roger Federer in 2003.

And if she produces this quality in the final, having crashed down eight aces and 38 winners, including 18 whipped from her glorious forehand, the 25-year-old is in good shape to become the nation’s third champion in the Open era after Margaret Court and Goolagong.

“I’m incredibly proud of myself and my team and now we get a chance on Saturday to live out a childhood dream,” she told the crowd after the match.

-with AAP

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