July 8 (UPI) -- World No. 1 Ash Barty won in straight sets, while No. 13 Karolina Pliskova rallied from a dropped first set to win her semifinal match at Wimbledon 2021 Thursday in London. They'll now meet in Saturday's women's final.
Barty bounced German Angelique Kerber in 87 minutes in the first of two women's semifinals at the All England Club. The Australian fired eight aces and 38 winners and won two of five break points.
"Being able to have an opportunity to play in a final here at Wimbledon is incredible," Barty told reporters. "That match was the best level I've played in quite some time. Angie is an incredible competitor and she brought out the best in me today.
"Being able to challenge myself against a champion like her was nice."
Barty won the first set 6-3, but trailed 5-3 in the second set. She responded with 11-consecutive points to snatch back momentum.
Kerber fired 16 winners and did not register an ace. The Wimbledon 2018 champion totaled 23 unforced errors and converted one of six break points.
"I think we both gave everything we could on the court today," Kerber told reporters. "I was trying to play my game, but she always had a good answer. ... She played great in important moments and I think that was the key at the end."
No. 4 Aryna Sabalenka came out strong against Pliskova. The Belarusian won the first game of the match and the final two games of the first set to claim an early edge. Pliskova responded from the 5-7 setback with 6-4, 6-4 wins in the second and third sets.
Pliskova fired 14 aces and 32 winners in the victory. Sabalenka totaled 18 aces and 38 winners. Their 32 combined aces set a record for the most in a Wimbledon women's singles match.
"It was super important to stay in the game and stay focused," Pliskova said in her on-court interview. "That's what I did. It was close, but I'm super happy about the win."
Barty battles Pliskova for the Wimbledon singles title at 9 a.m. EDT Saturday in London. The match airs on ESPN. The Australian beat the Czech in three sets at the Stuttgart Open on April 24 in Stuttgart, Germany.
The men's singles circuit resumes Friday morning.
No. 9 Matteo Berrettini of Italy faces No. 18 Hubert Hurkacz of Poland in the first men's semifinal at 8:30 a.m. EDT. No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia battles No. 12 Denis Shapovalov of Canada in the second semifinal at 10:30 a.m. EDT.
The men's singles final is at 9 a.m. EDT Sunday. All remaining matches air on ESPN.