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Ashleigh Barty celebrates victory over Angelique Kerber - PA

Ashleigh Barty celebrates victory over Angelique Kerber – PA

02:11 PM

Kerber brings out best in Barty

02:10 PM

Barty speaks

“This is incredible. This is close to as good a tennis match as I’ll ever play. Angie really brought the best out of me today. I’m incredibly proud of myself and my team and now I get the chance on Saturday to live out a childhood dream.

“You have to enjoy the journey and all the opportunities I have I get to do with the people I love and help me be the best I can be. It’s about coming here and having fun. Playing in front of this crowd and on a beautiful court there is nothing better.

“I have had ups, downs and everything in between on this journey. There’s a lot of things which have led to this point. To play in the final at Wimbledon on Saturday will be the best thing ever.”

02:05 PM

Barty 6-3, 7-6 Kerber TIE-BREAK

Barty makes early breakthrough for 1-0 and then consolidates it when Kerber dumps a service return into the middle (2-0). The Aussie keeps Kerber pinned behind the baseline on the next point, powering home a forehand winner for 3-0. A double fault from Kerber hands Barty a free-point and a healthy lead at 4-0. The world No 1 keeps her foot on the gas, another forehand winner for 5-0. This is brutal stuff, now. An ace sets up SIX match points at the change over. Kerber stands strong during the next epic rally, finally getting the better of her rival, and finally getting a point on the board (6-1). She brings into the net on the next point and Barty dinks a reply into the tape (6-2). The world No 1 gets caught out during the next point (6-3), but secures her place in the final when Kerber hits a forehand into the middle (7-3). GAME, SET ANND MATCH: BARTY REACHES FINAL WITH STRAIGHT SETS WIN OVER KERBER

01:58 PM

Barty 6-3, 6-6 Kerber *(*denotes next server)

Barty at her brilliant best again, switching her forehands from one corner to the other and not allowing Kerber a sniff of a break. She holds to 15. Tie-break here we come.

01:54 PM

Barty* 6-3, 5-6 Kerber (*denotes next server)

Crowd starting to rally round Kerber again as she takes a 40-15 lead. She lets out a heavy sigh at squatting low and pushing a forehand into the middle and then has the wind taken out her sails again as Barty gets another lucky break off the tape for deuce.

She keeps her focus to stay strong, pushing a forehand down the line to edge a game closer to the set.

01:50 PM

Barty 6-3, 5-5 Kerber* (*denotes next server)

Momentum starting to swing to Barty now, a delightful forehand landing flush on the line, and an ace down the T helping her surge to three game points. She gives it the Kerber treatment on the next service return, crouching down low and striking a groundstroke from down low.

01:46 PM

Barty* 6-3, 4-5 Kerber (*denotes next server)

The dust flies up as Barty powers an extraordinary smash home and then piles on the pressure at 0-30. Kerber’s concentration goes temporarily as she stares at three break points. Barty makes it at the first attempt with a super pass on the chase. That was very unexpected. BARTY BREAKS.

01:44 PM

Barty 6-3, 3-5 Kerber* (*denotes next server)

Barty’s first serve win percentage has dropped from the first set high of 86 per cent to just 50 per cent as Kerber imposes herself on the match.

The German lets rip with a quite brilliant service return to draw Barty back from 40-15 to deuce. But Barty pulls out a couple of strong first serves to make her rival serve for the second set.

01:40 PM

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01:38 PM

Barty* 6-3, 2-5 Kerber (*denotes next server)

Ebbing and flowing now as each of the player’s styles comes to the fore. Yet it remains Kerber with the edge, presenting Barty with plenty of questions that she simply didn’t have in the first set.

Kerber stays positive, in command, but goes from a position of control at 40-15 to deuce. Barty shakes her head in annoyance at sending a forehand long and can’t do anything about the next whipped groundstroke from Kerber.

01:34 PM

Barty 6-3, 2-4 Kerber* (*denotes next server)

Kerber taking on anything short or slow from Barty now. She makes one return for 30-15, but then goes big on the next and slaps into the middle. She lets out a sigh. She needn’t, she’s still a break to the good.

01:30 PM

Barty* 6-3, 1-4 Kerber (*denotes next server)

Barty gets a slight rub of the green, coming into the net, powering a forehand that clips the top of the tape and lands dead in Kerber’s half. It throws the German’s rhythm and a loose forehand now allows Barty of two break points. Fantastic deep hitting from Kerber draws the error from Barty. She takes a brief seat on the lawn, contemplating what she could have done differently. Kerber is firing again, draws Barty back to deuce with a dinked drop shot that draws another clenched fist from the German. This is now the semi-final we all hoped this match-up could be. Super resilience from Kerber. She gets over the line with a forehand down the line. Important hold.

01:25 PM

Barty 6-3, 1-3 Kerber* (*denotes next server)

Great response from the world No 1 after dropping her last service game. Good stats on her first serve win percentage, up at 85 per cent.

01:22 PM

Barty* 6-3, 0-3 Kerber (*denotes next server)

Kerber in the groove now and comfortably holds to love. Great aggression from the 33-year-old. Her positivity and power is paying off.

01:20 PM

Barty 6-3, 0-2 Kerber* (*denotes next server)

First cry of ‘C’mon’ from Kerber as she clenches her fist, looks to the crowd for support as she takes a march this game at 0-30. Kerber gets locked into a baseline duel, and this is what she wants, draws the error from Barty for three break points.

This is the first real pressure Barty has been put under. She saves one, then two but then dumps a forehand into the tramlines. KERBER BREAKS.

Kerber makes the breakthrough - EPAKerber makes the breakthrough - EPA

Kerber makes the breakthrough – EPA

01:16 PM

Barty* 6-3, 0-1 Kerber (*denotes next server)

Important hold from Kerber at the start of the second set to 30. The German hasn’t yet managed to settle into her usual rhythm, but Barty has been quite special.

Stats from the first set:

01:11 PM

Barty 6-3 Kerber* (*denotes next server)

Nerves creeping in for Barty, throwing in a couple of loose points to allow Kerber a 0-30 lead. Crouched down on the baseline, she sends an angled forehand out of Kerber’s reach before a sliced-exchange ends in the Aussie’s favour.

A double fault, Barty’s third of the match, hands Kerber break point. But Barty scampers round the court, getting on the front foot and volleying a winner at the net for deuce. A great save. Barty turns the game on its head. Bring up set point, and takes it at the first opportunity with an ace. BARTY WINS OPENING SET.

Sophie, Countess of Wessex, centre, watches the semi-final - APSophie, Countess of Wessex, centre, watches the semi-final - AP

Sophie, Countess of Wessex, centre, watches the semi-final – AP

01:07 PM

Barty* 5-3 Kerber (*denotes next server)

Kerber responds with her own love hold which will give her confidence, but how long does she have left in this set?

01:03 PM

Barty 5-2 Kerber* (*denotes next server)

Barty really does have a lovely style and tempo to her game. A variety of soft hands, power and brilliant execution secure a love hold. Superb.

01:01 PM

Barty* 4-2 Kerber (*denotes next server)

Commanding service game from Kerber. Holds to 15. Now she needs to make inroads on Barty’s serve.

12:58 PM

Barty 4-1 Kerber* (*denotes next server)

Pressure now on Barty’s serve at 0-30, but Kerber goes for the big ‘un and cracks her forehand into the middle. The world No 1 shows great composure, doesn’t flinch as she turns the game around, an ace down the T moving her to game point.

A deuce doesn’t throw her off her stride. Tracey Austin is giving Barty’s current display an ‘A+’ on commentary. You couldn’t argue with that.

12:54 PM

Barty* 3-1 Kerber (*denotes next server)

Kerber changes it up, bringing Barty in, and lobbing her rival quite delightfully. From 30-0, two loose groundstrokes bring the world No 1 back all square. Another error on the forehand wing hands Barty another break point. Kerber misses a first serve. Pressure now for the 33-year-old. She gives Barty the run around during the next point, forces the Aussie to pull the trigger and she strikes long.

Two straight points gets the German over the line and a first hold of the match.

12:49 PM

Barty 3-0 Kerber* (*denotes next server)

Kerber making some ridiculous service return angles, but Barty is moving through the gears now, mixing up with drop shots and deep forehands for 40-30.

The forehand wing is firing for Barty, another whipped one to the corner is backed up with a smash at the net. She cements the break.

12:45 PM

Barty* 2-0 Kerber (*denotes next server)

Floating forehand down the line brings Kerber back to 30-all, but a pulled backhand into the middle hands Barty a first break point. And the world No 1 makes the early breakthrough with a cracking passing forehand after great anticipation at the baseline from a Kerber smash. BARTY BREAKS.

12:41 PM

Barty 1-0 Kerber* (*denotes next server)

Nervy start from Barty in her opening service game. Stares at two break points after a double fault and a couple of loose returns. Saves the first break with a first serve, and whips a forehand cross-court into the corner to draw level at deuce.

Barty feeling her way now as she punches a volley into the advantage court and turns the game on its head from 15-40 to hold.

12:34 PM

Here come the players

Roof currently open despite rain at Wimbledon this morning as Kerber leads the players out on to Centre. Barty follows, gives a tiny wave to the crowd, almost sheepishly as she heads over to her chair. Warm-up is underway.

12:25 PM

Barty’s added motivation

Ahead of the grand slam, Barty spoke to our chief sports writer, Oliver Brown, of her motivation to become the first Australian woman to win Wimbledon since Evonne Goolagong Cawley some 50 years ago.

Here’s a snippet of the interview. Read it in full here.

Stylistically, Barty is not dissimilar to Goolagong, with her best play owing much to her glorious backhand slice. But their relationship goes much deeper than this: where Goolagong was a trailblazer for Aboriginal communities, the Wiradjuri girl who was only accepted into tennis after a local resident spotted her peering through the fence at her nearest court, Barty also has indigenous blood, as a descendant of New South Wales’ Ngarigo people on her father’s side.

“Evonne and I are family,” she says. “We share heritage, and that’s very special to me. It’s important for me to understand that being indigenous is part of who I am. I can’t change it, I’m very proud of it. Today, I’m the indigenous ambassador for Tennis Australia. I’m determined to bring change for the people, to guide their children into a healthier lifestyle, not just through education but sport. Evonne created the stepping stones, but I want to create my own path.”

12:13 PM

Kerber could climb back up to world No 10

Regardless of today’s result, Barty will extend her stay at the top of the rankings after Wimbledon following her run to the semis. The Aussie will make it a 77th consecutive week as No 1 when the next rankings are published on Monday.

Kerber, on the other hand, will move up to No 22 should she exit today. If she reaches Saturday’s final, she’ll edge up to No 18. A second title at SW19 would take up back to the top table of women’s tennis by surging up to world No 10.

11:52 AM

Resurgent Kerber prepares for toughest test yet

Welcome all to coverage of the first of the women’s semi-finals as a rejuvenated and reenergised Angelique Kerber faces the toughest test of her Wimbledon fortnight so far against top seed Ashleigh Barty.

Former No 1 Kerber has slipped down the rankings to No 28 since the last of her three grand slam titles at the Championships three years ago, but has rediscovered her best form on the grass, having clinched her first trophy since 2018 at a warm-up event in Hamburg last month.

The 33-year-old has banked more experience when it comes to the majors than today’s rival, and the other two semi-finalists, after reaching the last two for the eighth time in her career .

While Kerber has been entertaining fans with her high-energy and tenacious style, she has spent two and a half more hours on court compared to world No 1 and Australian Barty, who has stepped up her level with each week during the major.

The 2019 French Open champion is bidding to win her first Wimbledon title 50 years after compatriot Evonne Goolagong won the Championships.

Barty is yet to drop a set this fortnight and breezed through her quarter-final win over Ajla Tomljanovic in just 67 minutes on Tuesday. In total, she has spent 7hr 53 mins on court compared to Kerber’s 10 hrs and 15mins.

“She’s one of the best grasscourt players going around. I think the challenge of playing her in a semi-final of Wimbledon is an incredible opportunity, one that I’m really excited for,” Barty said of facing Kerber.

“It’s not scary or overwhelming, it’s just exciting to have the challenge of playing someone who is comfortable on these courts, who knows how to win this tournament.”

It will be the first time the pair have met on grass, with their previous five contests coming all on hard courts and Kerber holding a narrow 3-2 lead.

In the other semi-final that follows this match, former world No 1 Karolina Pliskova faces big-hitting second seed Aryna Sabalenka.

Pliskova, like Barty, also hasn’t dropped a set yet and goes up against Sabalenka who will be contesting her first ever major semi-final.

Barty and Kerber will be on court at 1.30pm, so stay with us for build up and game-by-game updates.