The 25-year-old, who appeared to be in trouble late in the second set, sparkled down the straight, pulling off a 6-3, 7-6 (3) win to become the first Aussie since her mentor Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1980 to make the title round.
Barty will play the eighth-seeded Karolina Pliskova for the Venus Rosewater Dish on Saturday. The Czech put out the second-seeded Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 in match of big strikes – 32 aces, 70 winners and just 37 unforced errors in all — in the near two-hour feature, to make her first final at SW19 and second major final after the 2016 US Open.
Barty, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Goolagong’s first title, has been sporting a representation of her iconic scallop dress, embellished with laser-cut flowers, and playing a game that must rank as an ode to the legendary Aussie with whom she shares an indigenous heritage.
After Barty wrapped up the 87-minute semifinal she stood with her hands on her head and a look of disbelief stamped across her face. Centre Court was on its feet.
“Angie is an incredible competitor. That match was at a great level, the best I’ve played, in quite some time. It was just nice to play a really good level throughout the whole match, kind of fought and scrapped when I had to, controlled the ball when I had to. Having that feeling on the last point was amazing,” the top-seed said.
“She is a really intelligent player,” the 33-year-old Kerber said of her opponent. “She knows how to play her slice, and then she’s going forward with her forehand. She really served well today.”
Ashleigh Barty is bidding to become the 1st No.1 seed to win #Wimbledon since Serena Williams in 2016.She is also… https://t.co/MLMlVJdF5O
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) 1625754191000
The Australian struck 38 winners and reeled off 11 consecutive points to overturn a 3-5 deficit in the second set. The run started in the eighth game when the Aussie saved a couple of breakpoints. She then followed it up with a break and a hold, both at love.
The top-seed book-ended the game with some stellar shots.