The other way Barty steals No. 1

Ashleigh Barty has a golden opportunity to become just Australia's second women's World No. 1 in the final of the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham tonight.

The 23-year-old Queenslander is projected to currently sit just two rankings points behind current no. 1 Naomi Osaka and will look to end her 18-week reign on top of the world.

Barty will need to win tonight against her doubles partner for the tournament Julia Goerges in the Birmingham final at 10pm AEST.

The pair withdrew in the semi-finals and are pitted against each other in the singles final.

The Herald Sun reports Barty will be the World No. 1 regardless leading into Wimbledon as she will earn 30 points for a second round appearance at Eastbourne with a bye in round 1 - but she'll need to win her first match in the round two to earn the points.

The WTA rule book states "If a player receives one (1) or more consecutive byes and loses her first match played, first round losers' points will be awarded, and the player will receive prize money for the round reached".

If the French Open champion can move past Osaka into the World No. 1 ranking, she will be the 27th woman in 49 years to be ranked the world's best player.

She would also be the first Australian woman since her hero Evonne Goolagong Cawley's two weeks at the top in 1976 and first Australian singles player since Lleyton Hewitt in 2003.

"Let's see what happens tomorrow," Barty grinned post-match. "I'm excited by the opportunity to come back tomorrow. Whatever happens, happens."

Who would have thought Junior Wimbledon champ Barty would replicate her hero.
Who would have thought Junior Wimbledon champ Barty would replicate her hero.

Barty is battling some right arm soreness ahead of the battle with fears it may be worse than first thought at the doubles withdrawal but she told officials it was more a precaution with a heavy schedule ahead of Wimbledon.

"I keep it very simple," she said. "I have to try and do what I can do and that is prepare and do as best that I can tomorrow and try and play a good tennis match and if I win, it's a bonus. There are all things that come with it. But those things are certainly not what I'm worried about."

Barty also admitted she's not worried about moving to the top of the rankings.

She has had a remarkable rise to the top of the tennis world, going from a Women's Big Bash League player three years ago to a Grand Slam champion and World No. 2 in just three years.

"It would be incredible, absolutely incredible (to reach No 1)," she said.

"It would. But, you know, for the time being, I just have to try and think about my preparations and keeping everything exactly the same and doing what I have been doing to get myself to this point.

"It's been working more times than not. There haven't been too many matches this year where I have walked off the court disappointed.

"I think that's the best thing is, win or lose, I know if I go about it the right way, I can walk off the court with a smile."

You can do it Ash!
You can do it Ash!

WHAT TIME IS IT ON?

The Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham final between Ashleigh Barty and Julia Goerges starts at 10pm.

 

HOW CAN I WATCH?

You can stream the final live on Kayo Sports or watch on BeIN Sports 3 on Foxtel.
Get your free 14-day trial of Kayo Sports and catch tennis throughout the year - including Wimbledon - live and on demand on Kayo Sports. Subscribe for just $25 per month for two devices at once on Apple, Android and Telstra TV, for Apple and Google Android smartphones, on web browsers and via Google Chromecast Ultra devices.
BARTY'S RUN TO THE FINAL
Round 1: Donna Vekic - 6-3 6-4
Round 2: Jennifer Brady - 6-3 6-1
Quarterfinal: Venus Williams - 6-4 6-3
Semi-final: Barbora Strycova - 6-4 6-4



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