World No.1 Ash Barty will take on Czech Republic player Karolina Pliskova in the 2021 Wimbledon ladies finals. As the All England Club will see a new champion with the coveted Venus Rose Water Dish, here are a few incredible women’s finals from yesteryears.
Martina Navaratilova vs Chris Evert (1978)
Being the two best players in women’s tennis for most of the 1970s and 1980s, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert formed arguably the greatest rivalry on the WTA tour. The two met in the finals of Wimbledon in 1978. While it appeared that Evert would go onto win her third title at the All England Club, challenger Navratilova who was playing her first Wimbledon title turned her fortunes. In the eight game of the second set, after Navratilova got hit accidentally by an Evert, ball the matched turned on its head. The southpaw stunned everyone on the Centre Court, including the World No. 1 Evert to win her maiden title in three amazing sets. “I think when she hit me that woke me up,” Navratilova said later.
Jana Novotna vs Steffi Graf (1993)
In 1993, Jana Novotna of Czech Republic took on Germany’s Steffi Graf in the Wimbledon finals. While the match was squared a one set a piece, Novotna raced ahead in the final set and was only a point away from the a 5-1 lead. However, Novotna lost the game and later, a remarkable turnaround saw Graf win the next final five games to seal yet another Wimbledon final. A tight and nervy Novotna doubled faulted and sprayed balls all over the court to end up on the losing side. It has been described as one of the biggest chokes in tennis history. Later in 1998, the Czech player did comeback to win the coveted trophy at the All England Club.
Steffi Graf vs Sanchez Vicario (1995)
Steffi Graf and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario came into 1995 Wimbledon finals as arguably the two big stars in women’s tennis, especially after Monica Seles was sidelined due to injury. Both players had been exchanged the top spot in the women’s rankings. The match went the distance and in the third set, with Vicario serving at 5-5, 11th game lasted 20 minutes and included 13 deuces. Vicario had eight game points and Graf six. The German eventually broke serve on the 32nd point of the game, then held serve to complete a 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 victory.
Serena Williams vs Maria Sharapova (2004)
When young Russian Maria Sharapova walked onto the Centre Court to take on legendary Serena Williams, not many believed that they would witness a shock. However, the 17-year-old showed no nerves and quickly went on to grab the opening set 6-1. The lanky Russian came out with a flurry of winners which caused Serena to make uncharacteristic errors. In the second set, although the multiple Grand Slam champion showed great resistance, Sharapova remained in the zone to seal the second set 6-4 and her maiden Grand Slam.
Lindsay Davenport vs Venus Williams (2005)
American Linday Davenport and Venus Williams were on top of their game at 2005 Wimbledon. Both former champions at the All England Club met in the finals and as expected delivered one of the best women’s final in Wimbledon history. It was also one of the longest finals at the Championships. Davenport was one point away from the title as she served for it, but the younger American hit back and from the brink and with some incredible forehands clinched the title in the tiebreaker for the third time in her career. Venus also won her fourth and fifth Championship in 2007 and 2008.