Wimbledon: Ex-cricketer Ashleigh clinches title in three sets

London: World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty of Australia won the women’s singles title at the Wimbledon Championships here on Saturday, beating eighth seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in three sets 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3 in one hour and 55 minutes.

Ashleigh, who had become the first world No. 1 in five years to reach the final at SW19, is the first Australian woman player in 41 years after Evonne Goolagong Cawley (1980) to lift the Venus Rosewater Dish.

This is her second Grand Slam title after the 2019 French Open.

In what was the first Wimbledon women’s final since 2012 to stretch to three sets, Ashleigh got off to a flying start, winning the first 14 points and four games in a row before clinching the first set 6-3.

She also led 3-1 in the second set but Karolina fought back to take the set to tie-breaker and win it. Ashleigh, at one point in time, was even serving for the second set.

Karolina committed errors in the final set as Ashleigh won it with ease.

The tie was evenly matched. While the Aussie sent down seven aces, her opponent managed to fire six. Interestingly, Ashleigh could win only 65 per cent of the points on first service as against 67 per cent by her 29-year-old opponent.

The 25-year-old converted six of the eight break-points she got as against four out of five by Karolina.

For Karolina, this is the second loss at a Grand Slam final. Her previous loss came during the 2016 US Open final when she went down to Angelique Kerber of Germany, also in three sets.

Ashleigh, who began playing tennis at the age of five, has also been a cricketer. She represented Brisbane Heat in the Women’s Big Bash League in 2015-16 when she was on a break from tennis. However, failing to make much impression  68 runs in nine matches she returned to tennis in 2016.

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