World number one Ash Barty overcame a second-set hiccup as she defeated Karolina Pliskova 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 on Saturday.
The win helped her to become the first women’s Wimbledon champion from Australia in 41 years.
The 25-year-old Barty emulated her idol, Evonne Goolagong Cawley who won in 1971 and 1980, with victory in one hour 55 minutes against the 13th-ranked Czech Pliskova.
Barty wasted a 3-1 lead and failed to serve out the match at 6-5 in the second set.
But she finally cried tears of joy after prevailing on first match-point in what became a classy affair in front of an enthusiastic centre court crowd.
It was the second title at the majors for Barty, following success at the 2019 French Open, her fourth of the year and 12th overall.
She is also the fourth woman in the Open era to win the senior title at the All England Club after junior success, in 2011.
Pliskova fought back bravely after the first set but remains without a grand slam triumph, having also lost the 2016 U.S. Open final to Angelique Kerber.
“I hope I made Evonne proud!” Barty said after receiving the Venus Rosewater dish from the Duchess of Cambridge.
“It took me a long time to verbalise the fact that I wanted to dare to dream and say that I wanted to win this incredible tournament.
“It’s better than I ever could have imagined.”
Best wasn’t good enough
Pliskova said: “I enjoyed every minute on the court. She was playing a great tournament.
“I fought very hard but she played very well.”
Barty beat Kerber in the semi-finals on Thursday and like in the previous matches again paid homage to Goolagong Cawley with a similar dress to that worn by the past champion.
She started on fire, winning the first 14 points as she raced off to a 4-0 lead in 11 minutes.
A few unforced errors from the Australian finally put Pliskova on the scoreboard in the next game which helped her settle, but it was too late to salvage the set.
The Czech led for the first time after the opening game of the second.
But, in what was now a hard-hitting see-saw battle, she first fell behind 3-1 and then fought back to lead 4-3.
In the 11th game, Pliskova led 40-0 before she netted what appeared to be an easy volley at the net with the court wide open after a stunning rally.
Barty seized the momentum and broke for 6-5 to earn the right to serve out the match.
But Pliskova fought back yet again, forcing the tiebreak where she won five points in a row and levelled on a Barty double-fault.
Barty was undeterred and broke in the second game, when Pliskova netted an easy volley, en route to a 3-0.
She did not relinquish the advantage this time around and wrapped up matters after saving a final break-point from Pliskova.
She got to match-point with an ace and sank on her knees in delight after a final error from Pliskova.
Barty said she told herself “to keep fighting” after the second set, adding: “Karo is an exceptional player.
“I was really proud of myself in the way that I was able to reset, keep on going and hold my nerve there at the very end.”
Another Australian legend, Rod Laver, tweeted: “So happy for you Ash Barty.
“Your dream comes true and what a fight. Congratulations on your Wimbledon victory.” (dpa/NAN)