When Ashleigh Barty withdrew from her second round match at Roland Garros on June 3 due to a hip injury, doubts hung over the presence of the world number 1 at Wimbledon. Especially since the Australian had not played any preparation tournament on grass, yet the most demanding surface on the circuit. But since her set lost in the first round on Center Court against Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro on June 29, Ashleigh Barty has not ceded anything to her opponents, silencing the critics. She notably got out of the trap set by Czech Barbora Krejcikova, seeded No. 14 and just winner of Roland-Garros, in the round of 16, on July 5.
Proof that the choice to preserve himself for the London Grand Slam tournament paid off, Barty validated his ticket for his semi-final by easily winning against his compatriot Ajla Tomljanovic (6-1, 6-3). She reached the last four at Wimbledon for the first time in her career. ” It’s a dream, she relished on center court after her victory. I’m really grateful to have the opportunity to come to the court and be able to experience what I have worked so hard for. I enjoy every minute that I spend here. “
Opposed to a strong opponent
Thursday, July 8, she will face the German Angelique Kerber, a player she knows well, but she has never faced on grass. Their last opposition dates back to 2018, in the round of 16 of the Wuhan tournament (China), where the Australian won in straight sets (7-5, 6-1). But the German, at ease on grass, has shown in her last matches that she should be counted on during this 2021 edition. « [Jouer Kerber], this is the ultimate test, reacted the world number 1. She has really had a great career here. I really like playing against her, she’s a great competitor, who plays well on grass. I hope I can have a good game. “
Facing Czech Karolina Muchova, Angélique Kerber qualified for her fourth semi-final at Wimbledon, a tournament she won in 2018. After a complicated start to the season, with eliminations in the first rounds of the Open d ‘ Australia and Roland-Garros, the 28e world is taking advantage of the grass season to regain success. “I’ve been working hard the last few months, the last few weeks. I’m so happy to be in the semifinals here again. It means a lot to me ”, she was satisfied after her victory in the quarterfinals, Tuesday, July 6. Angélique Kerber is the only player from the last four to have known this stage of the competition.
“I surprised myself”
The second semi-final opposes Karolina Pliskova to Aryna Sabalenka, both qualified with authority. The first against the Swiss Viktorija Golubic in two small sets (6-2, 6-2), a victory like her fortnight since the Czech only conceded 2.8 games per set, on average, in the tournament.
Former world number 1, down to number 13e place, Pliskova makes her power and experience speak for this 2021 Wimbledon, even though she also benefited from a clear table – the highest ranked player she faced is in the 47e world place (Tamara Zidansek). For her duel against Aryna Sabalenka, world number 4, she will still have to raise her level. “I also think I have a game that can bore him. We will have to play fast and put pressure on him ”, reacted Pliskova, once his opponent known.
An opponent who, too, made speak his power to rally the halves. With her convincing straight-set victory (6-4, 6-3) against the Tunisian revelation Ons Jabeur, Sabalenka removed the doubts that many, including herself, had on her ability to respond present during major meetings. If the 23-year-old Belarusian already has ten singles titles to her credit, she has always stuck in the Grand Slams, never going beyond the stage of the knockout stages (Australian Open 2021).
But on the grass of the All England Club, she showed a lot of serenity and determination over the matches. “I surprised myself, because I didn’t feel the pressure to be in quarterfinals for the first time”, she revealed after qualifying for the semi-finals. “I’m still in the tournament and I still have a chance to win a trophy, Sabalenka added. I will do everything to achieve my goal. ” He will first have to rule out Pliskova, Thursday, July 8, to hope to play his first Grand Slam final.