After 41 long years, Australia has another Wimbledon women’s singles finalist to savour after Ash Barty produced a dazzling performance to defeat former champion Angelique Kerber.
Living up to her billing as the world’s No.1 player, the Queenslander prevailed 6-3 7-6 (7-3) in what she had called her ‘ultimate test’ on Thursday against the three-time German grand slam winner.
Ash Barty (pictured) has become the first Australian woman to make the Wimbledon finals in 41 years after a dominant semi-final win
Barty beat German, Angelique Kerber in straight sets to book her spot in the Grand Slam grand final in a match-up she said would be her ‘greatest test’
In truth, that ultimate test is actually yet to come on Saturday when Barty will tackle either Aryna Sabalenka or Karolina Pliskova as the first Australian women’s finalist since her idol and mentor Evonne Goolagong, who won in 1980.
Yet this felt like another monumental day on Centre Court as the popular figure from Springfield, Queensland also became Australia’s first singles finalist, man or woman, at the All England Club since Mark Philippoussis lost to Roger Federer in 2003.
The world number one (pictured) beat the former champion 6-3 7-6 (7-3) on Thursday night to book her finals spot
In the highest-quality women’s match in the tournament, Barty played her best set yet in the opener to take the initiative.
Then she withstood the sort of inspirational form from a rejuvenated Kerber that took the German world No.28 to the 2018 title to fight back from 4-1 down in a thrilling second set and win after one hour 27 minutes.
Barty has payed homage to the players that inspired her own career, as she payed tribute to Evonne Goolagong Cawley.
Evonne Goolagong Cawley (pictured in the 1971 tournament) won Wimbledon in 1971 – aged just 19, while wearing the famous white skirt featuring a scalloped hem
It has been 50 years since the supremely talented Indigenous Australian athlete won the coveted grass grand slam – and as a result, Barty has chosen to publicly emulate her hero.
The women’s world number one has been wearing a white skirt featuring a scalloped hem – just like Evonne Goolagong Cawley did so elegantly as a 19-year-old in 1971.
Ash Barty (pictured) paying homage to the woman she said was the most iconic in the sport of tennis, by wearing the scalloped hem, just like Evonne Goolagong Cawley did
‘It is hard to put into words how much of an impact Evonne has had on the culture of tennis in Australia and on me personally,’ Barty told sponsor Fila.
‘I don’t think there is anyone more iconic in our sport.’
Goolagong Cawley is said to be humbled by the accolade, stating it ‘just blows her mind’ and it was ‘a truly fantastic thing to do.’