Karolina Pliskova battles back to beat Aryna Sabalenka and reach Wimbledon final

Wimbledon

Karolina Pliskova came from a set down to overcome second seed Aryna Sabalenka and reach her maiden Wimbledon final.

Pliskova, ranked 13 in the world, won a high-quality contest of big-hitting 5-7 6-4 6-4 and will face top seed Ashleigh Barty on Saturday.

Pliskova actually posed the main threat in the first set, forcing eight break points in total – at 2-2, 3-3 and 5-5 – but each time Sabalenka’s powerful serve got her out of trouble.

Sabalenka, by contrast, had not got near the Pliskova serve until the eighth seed made a mess of a volley with the entire court to aim at.

A delightful Sabalenka drop volley then brought up a solitary point for the set – and an untimely Pliskova double-fault gift-wrapped it for her.

Pliskova finally landed a punch at 2-2 in the second, bringing up another three break points and nailing the first with a perfect return to the feet which Sabalenka could only scuff into the net.

The 29-year-old backed up the break with three aces to take a 4-2 lead, confidently served out the set and made an ideal start to the decider with a break and a confident hold.

Pliskova’s grand slam experience – she has now made the semi-finals or better at all four major championships – was beginning to tell against her 23-year-old opponent.

Sabalenka went into full hustle mode, varying her pace and trying to move Pliskova around the court.

Karolina Pliskova celebrates victory
Karolina Pliskova celebrates victory (John Walton/PA)

But Pliskova held her nerve, clinching her place in the final with an ace to give herself the chance to claim her first grand slam title.

She said: “It’s amazing, until now I didn’t get past the fourth round – now I’m in the final. It’s an amazing achievement.

“I think we played a great match. She served amazing, so I’m super happy I managed to stay in there and find a way to win.”

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