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Ashleigh Barty takes on Angelique Kerber for a place in the final - AFP

Ashleigh Barty takes on Angelique Kerber for a place in the final – AFP

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.