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Barty Is First Australian To Win The Wimbledon Women's Singles Title Since 1980

Australia's Ashleigh Barty poses with the winner's trophy on Saturday after winning the Wimbledon women's singles final against the Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova.
Kirsty Wigglesworth
Australia's Ashleigh Barty poses with the winner's trophy on Saturday after winning the Wimbledon women's singles final against the Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova.

The Barty party has begun.

The No. 1 ranked Ashleigh Barty beat Karolina Pliskova in three sets Saturday, becoming the first Australian woman to win Wimbledon since 1980. Her victory came 50 years after Barty's idol, Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley, won her first Wimbledon title.

"It took me a long time to verbalize the fact that I wanted to dare to dream it," the 25-year-old Barty said of her Wimbledon hopes. "Being able to live out my dream right now, with everyone here, has made it better than I ever could have imagined.

"I didn't sleep a lot last night," Barty told the packed All England Club stadium after the match. "I was thinking of all the what-ifs. But I think when I was coming out on this court, I felt at home, in a way."

Going into the finals, Barty was the favorite to win — and the opening minutes of the match made a Barty championship seem like an inevitability. In just 11 minutes, she already held a 4-0 lead over the 29-year-old Pliskova, who was struggling to show the prowess that had carried her to the finals.

Although Pliskova managed to eke out three games in the first set, Barty looked ready to cruise to a swift victory. But in the second set, Pliskova — the world's former No. 1 — found her footing. The 6'1" Czech's massive serve, absent at the start, began making an appearance. Pliskova won a tiebreaker to carry the second set 7-6.

The next set would determine whether Barty could bring the women's trophy home to Australia for the first time since Goolagong Cawley. "Just keep fighting," Barty said she was telling herself. "I was really proud of myself that I was able to reset and just keep going."

Barty won the third set 6-3.

"I hope I made Evonne proud," Barty told the crowd, which responded with rapturous applause.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Matthew S. Schwartz is a reporter with NPR's news desk. Before coming to NPR, Schwartz worked as a reporter for Washington, DC, member station WAMU, where he won the national Edward R. Murrow award for feature reporting in large market radio. Previously, Schwartz worked as a technology reporter covering the intricacies of Internet regulation. In a past life, Schwartz was a Washington telecom lawyer. He got his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, and his B.A. from the University of Michigan ("Go Blue!").

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