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Ash Barty beats Karolina Pliskova at Wimbledon for 2nd Grand Slam title

Ash Barty of Australia kisses the trophy after winning her women's final match against Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic at the Wimbledon Championships on Saturday in London. Photo by Neil Hall/EPA-EFE
Ash Barty of Australia kisses the trophy after winning her women's final match against Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic at the Wimbledon Championships on Saturday in London. Photo by Neil Hall/EPA-EFE

July 10 (UPI) -- Top-ranked Ash Barty halted eighth-seeded Karolina Pliskova's late comeback attempt in Saturday's Wimbledon women's final to claim her second Grand Slam championship.

Barty got off to a quick start by collecting the first 14 points, then had to hold off Pliskova's late rally for a 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3 victory at the All England Club.

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"It took me a long time to verbalize the fact that I wanted to dare to dream it and say I wanted to win this incredible tournament," Barty said. "... I didn't sleep a lot [Friday] night. 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."

With the victory, Barty -- who won the French Open in 2019 for her only previous Grand Slam win -- became the first Australian woman to claim the trophy at Wimbledon since Evonne Goolagong in 1980.

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Barty said she was inspired by Goolagong at the tournament, even wearing an outfit that was a tribute to the dress Goolagong wore when she won at Wimbledon for the first time in 1971.

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"I hope I made Evonne proud," Barty said.

Pliskova, seeking her first Grand Slam title, failed to win a single point in the first three games of the opening set, then double-faulted on break point to give Barty a 4-0 lead. Pliskova finally held serve to make it 5-3 before Barty served out the first set.

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The 29-year-old Pliskova, a native of the Czech Republic, battled back in the second frame to force a decisive third set -- the first in the Wimbledon women's final since 2012, when Serena Williams beat Agnieszka Radwanska.

Barty, who improved to 6-2 in all-time meetings against Pliskova, regained her form in the final set. The 25-year-old Aussie raced out to a 3-0 lead before closing out the championship victory on serve.

"I was fighting very hard to make it difficult for her," said Pliskova, who got choked up during the trophy ceremony. "I never cry. Never."

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Both Pliskova and Barty were making their first appearances in a Wimbledon final, marking the first time that had occurred since 1977, when Virginia Wade defeated Betty Stove.

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Barty received nearly $2.4 million in prize money for her triumph, the same first-place prize given to the men's singles champion.

Top-seeded Novak Djokovic will challenge No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the Wimbledon men's final at 9 a.m. EDT Sunday in London.

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