Nature Valley Classic - Day Four
Nature Valley Classic - Day Four

Barty on the cusp of number one

ASH Ash Barty has surged to another pre-Wimbledon win and in doing so set a personal record. The world No.1 ranking beckons. 

With her ninth successive victory - a 6-3 6-1 triumph over American Jennifer Brady - the French Open champion can overtake Naomi Osaka at the head of the rankings if she makes the finals.

But she must first deal with five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in the quarter-finals.

The possibility of soaring to the top of the rankings is the latest unlikely scenario in Barty's improbable return to the sport from cricket in 2016.

Osaka's hold on the No 1 mantle was loosened with a 6-2 6-3 loss to Yulia Putintseva, leaving her only 207 rankings points in front of Barty.

 

Ash Barty plays a return to Jennifer Brady at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham. Picture: Getty Images
Ash Barty plays a return to Jennifer Brady at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham. Picture: Getty Images

Now into the quarter-finals, Barty can bridge the gap by advancing to the Nature Valley Classic final in Birmingham.

The Queenslander will face either sixth seed Wang Qiang or five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams for a place in the semi-finals.

Barty's idol Evonne Goolagong (1976) is the last Australian woman to sit atop the world rankings mountain.

Barty is undefeated since falling in straight sets to Frances Kristina Mladenovic in Rome last month.

 

A general view of Ash Barty’s match against Jennifer Brady in the Nature Valley Classic at Edgbaston Priory Club on June 20, 2019 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. Picture: Getty Images
A general view of Ash Barty’s match against Jennifer Brady in the Nature Valley Classic at Edgbaston Priory Club on June 20, 2019 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. Picture: Getty Images

"I feel like I'm playing some great tennis," Barty said.

"I think the work that we have been doing over the last, you know, 12-18 months in particular, but over the last three years is kind of all coming together.

"The stars have aligned a little bit for me, and I think when you get those opportunities you have to do your best to take them with both hands.

 

"That's what we have been able to do over the last month in particular, but, yeah, I mean, I feel like I'm comfortable in my own skin.

"I feel like I know exactly how I want to play in most matches, and it's just about going out there trying to execute as best I can."

News Corp Australia


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