Wimbledon 2021: Ash Barty becomes first Australian woman to reach final in 41 years after topping Angelique Kerber

Top seed Ash Barty became the first Australian woman to reach the Wimbledon singles final in 41 years, after beating former champion Angelique Kerber 6-3 7-6(3) in their semi-final clash at the All England Club. 

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 No.1 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 matchpoints, she was never going to let her opportunity slip.

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

"This is incredible, this is close to as good a tennis match as I will ever play," says 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. 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."

Pliskova completes comeback to book spot in final 

Barty will face Karolina Pliskova in the tournament's showpiece, after the Czech beat Aryna Sabalenka - the first time since 1977 that both finalists are in their maiden Wimbledon final.

Karolina Pliskova
Karolina Pliskova Photo credit: Getty Images

Former world No.1 Pliskova reached her first Wimbledon final, after coming back from a set down to beat second seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 5-7 6-4 6-4.

The Czech goes into Saturday's decider, looking to capture her first Grand Slam title, after only ever reaching one other final, when she finished runner-up to Kerber at the 2016 US Open.

The 29-year-old Pliskova found it hard going against Sabalenka - the first seeded player she had faced in this year's tournament - and it showed, as she dropped her first set on the only breakpoint she faced with a double fault.

She made inroads on Sabalenka's booming serve, which reached speeds of 193kph, to clinch a break to love midway through the second set. It was her ninth breakpoint of the match, but the first she converted, giving her the confidence to serve out the set and level the score.

"I am in the final, so I think it is incredible," Pliskova said on court. "It was an amazing match from both of us.

"I got a bit frustrated, but she was serving unbelievably - she was in a semi-final, so had to play some great tennis. I am super happy I managed to find a way to win."