Ash Barty is one match away from Wimbledon glory, the moment when Australia will rejoice. We haven’t had a Ladies Singles champion since Evonne Goolagong defeated Chris Evert in 1980. Barty has already drunk the Slam champagne by winning the French two years ago; she’ll have to beat Karolina Pliskova to do it again.
They’ve played seven times and Barty leads 5-2, the Queenslander has also won the last three, but four out of the seven matches have gone three sets, so there is certainly no domination happening here.
Barty had never gone beyond the 4thround at Wimbledon, but her game translates so well to grass, the slice backhand, the soft hands around the net and nimble on her feet, she’s put it all together.
This will be the second Grand Slam final for Pliskova; the Czech lost the 2016 US Open final to Kerber. Her slam results lately have been underwhelming, not making a QF in her last eight majors, but all that will be forgotten if she wins this.
Why Barty will win
They say variety is the spice of life; well it’s the spice of this match. The 24 year old will use every shot in the book, it’s served her well so far as she’s only lost one set the whole tournament.
The serve will set up the forehand, it’s how Barty wins a lot of her service games, big serve, short reply, see you later, combine that with the variety during the rallies and she’ll win.
Why Pliskova will win
Pliskova has the edge in power and there was a stretch in that second set against Kerber that Barty went missing, too conservative in the rallies and making plenty of errors. If Pliskova is allowed to consistently unleash that power, she has the flatness in her shots and big match belief to win.
The Pliskova footwork on grass has improved, but movement is still her biggest weakness. This will be the key for Barty, she’s got to get the 6ft 2 Czech moving. Pliskova is uber dangerous when she’s set and delivering rocket groundstrokes but get her on the run she just doesn’t have the athleticism to get back into the point.
I expect Barty will use the slices, drop shots, sneaks into the net and wide serves to get Pliskova out of position, trying to exploit the movement. I’d be surprised if this match isn’t close, it may be straight sets but more likely 7-5, 7-6, not a blowout.
Ash has done well to get here, overcoming the hip injury, which forced her retirement at the French. I think she’ll take it all the way; I’m tipping Barty in three sets, get the champagne ready.