Former world number one Karolina Plíšková reached her maiden Wimbledon final after coming back from a set down to beat second seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 5-7 6-4 6-4 on Thursday.
The Czech goes into Saturday’s final looking to capture her first Grand Slam title, having only ever reached one other final when she finished runner-up to Angelique Kerber at the 2016 U.S. Open.
Plíšková will face another Wimbledon final debutant in world number one Ash Barty, who beat Kerber earlier on Thursday.
The 29-year-old Pliskova found it hard going against Sabalenka, the first seeded player she had faced in this year’s tournament, and it showed as she dropped her first set on the only break point she faced with a double fault.
She made inroads on Sabalenka’s booming serve, which reached speeds of 193 kilometres per hour, to clinch a break to love midway through the second set from which she served out to level the match.
The 23-year-old Sabalenka, playing in her first major semi-final, struggled for consistency, sending down 18 aces in the match but making 20 unforced errors including one to give up an early break in the first game of the deciding set.
Although the Belarusian rallied, Plíšková never looked in any danger, rarely breaking a sweat on her own serve as she booked her place in Saturday’s showpiece with an ace.
“I never thought about, like, maybe going into the final,” said Plíšková 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.”