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Ashleigh Barty beats Ajla Tomljanovic to advance to Wimbledon semi-finals

Ash Barty has become the first Australian woman into the semi-finals at Wimbledon since 2000 after defeating compatriot Ajla Tomljanovic.

Ashleigh Barty has won her quarterfinal against fellow Aussie Ajla Tomljanovic with a straight sets victory.

Barty won the game with a commanding 6-1, 6-3.

She is the first Australian woman through to the semi-finals at Wimbledon since Jelena Dokic in 2000.

She will now play Angelique Kerber in the semi-finals.

Barty paid tribute to Tomljanovic after her win.

“We are Fed Cup teammates and she always brings out the best in me,” Barty said. “All Aussies back home are bloody proud of her and it was a pleasure to share the court with her today.”

Barty described her next match against Kerber as “the ultimate test”.

“I love playing Angie, she knows her way around this court,” Barty said.

Kerber – who beat Karolina Muchova 6-2, 6-3 – is the only one of the semis quartet to have already been in the last four at the tournament, having defeated Serena Williams in straight sets to win the 2018 Wimbledon title.

Former world number one Karolina Pliskova will play Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in the other semi-final.

Sabalenka showed all the fighting qualities and power of the tiger tattoo she sports to end the historic run of Ons Jabeur of Tunisia, winning 6-4, 6-3.

Earlier Pliskova reached her first Wimbledon semi-final outclassing Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic 6-2, 6-2.

World number one Barty already has a 2019 French Open title to her credit but to win the Wimbledon crown this year would carry extra significance, describing the title as her “ultimate dream”.

It is the 50th anniversary of the first of two Wimbledon titles for her fellow Indigenous Australian, Evonne Goolagong Cawley.

Barty is wearing a specially-designed dress in tribute to the ‘iconic’ scallop one Cawley wore for her 1971 title success.

The game against Tomljanovic was the first all-Aussie women’s quarter-final at Wimbledon since Cawley beat Wendy Turnbull on the way to her second title in 1980.

Tuesday also saw maximum crowds at Wimbledon for the first time this tournament after the Covid-19 limit of 50 per cent capacity was lifted.

Before the match Barty spoke of how she had long dreamed of winning the Wimbledon title, after taking out the junior championship in 2011 at the age of 15.

“I’m excited. It’s another stepping stone for me. It’s another first,” said Barty of reaching the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the first time.

“It’s kind of going to be a new situation, a new scenario, one that I’m going to look forward to.

“I’m going to enjoy it no matter what. I think it’s a stepping stone to what is kind of one of my biggest dreams. We just keep chipping away.”

Tomljanovic was playing her first Grand Slam quarter-final at the age of 28, although she regretted the manner in which she got there, British teenager Emma Raducanu retiring from their match with breathing difficulties.

“I’m unbelievably proud of myself,” said the 28-year-old Australian. “I didn’t think these two weeks would be my breakthrough.

Tomljanovic says her run to the quarter-final has banished ghosts of the past when she felt she choked at crucial moments.

“I’m just proud of the fact that I faced some tough moments in this tournament so far, in the second round, even the first and the third,” she said.

“I’ve handled it well mentally.”

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