'Super proud' Pliskova to face Barty in Wimbledon final

London (AFP) –


Karolina Pliskova said she was "super proud" of how she handled being a set down to come back and reach her first Wimbledon final where the Czech will face Australia's Ashleigh Barty.

Pliskova had never been beyond the fourth round at Wimbledon but showed great resilience in coming from behind to beat second seed Aryna Sabalenka 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.

It was a rare feat by Pliskova as in the previous 33 semi-finals only two players had reached the final after losing the first set.

"I never thought about, like, maybe going into the final," said Pliskova of her ambitions at the beginning of the tournament.

"The dream was to make the second week, of course, because I was not in the second week for a while.

"I am super proud about the way how I handled the situation out there, the second and third set, and that I served out the match."

Whoever emerges victorious on Saturday there will be a new name on the trophy as it is the first Wimbledon final for both of them.

"I think it can't be any better than that," said Pliskova of facing Barty.

"You want to play the best player in the final. Of course, I don't want anybody else but her there."

For the 29-year-old eighth seed it is her second Grand Slam final -- she lost the 2016 US Open -- and she is the first Czech finalist at Wimbledon since Petra Kvitova won her second title in 2014.

"It sounds amazing to be in the final as I never got past the fourth round here before," said Pliskova who squandered all eight break points she created in the first set.

"I was, like, super pissed about that because I thought I had so many chances in the first set.

"I had so many chances in the first set and I got frustrated. A lot of credit to her, she played a great match.

"I'm super happy to have found a way to win."

"She plays so fast. I didn't have time to think about what I needed to do. She's super powerful."

Sabalenka could reflect on her most successful performance at a Grand Slam tournament having never before gone further than the fourth round.

"She is older than me and more experienced," said Sabalenka.

"I felt today there was something to lose and felt a little tight and overtried things.

"Her serve was a big challenge for me. I had opportunities in the second set but she played too good.

"I did my best but it is tough."

World number one Barty earlier defeated 2018 champion Angelique Kerber 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) in her semi-final.