Ashleigh Barty, who once was a star cricketer, became only the second Australian woman to top the world rankings after winning the Birmingham WTA title on Sunday, beating Julia Goerge 6-3, 7-5. She has overthrown Japan’s Naomi Osaka, officially claiming the women’s world number one ranking on Monday.

The 23-year-old French Open champion is the second Australian woman after seven-time Grand Slam champion Yvonne Goolagong-Cawley, who held it for a fortnight in 1976, to top the world rankings.

“I’m nowhere near her status … to be mentioned in the same sentence is incredible,” Barty told reporters after the Birmingham Classic, India Today reported. She has started 2019 in a brilliant way, recording an impressive 36 match victories and only six defeats. Her straight sets 6-3, 7-5 win over Germany’s Julia Goerge in the Birmingham Classic now records her on a 12-match win streak.

Career so far

  • Barty had once left tennis racquets and picked up the cricket bat. Just three years ago, a professional cricketer then could have played for Australia’s national team but fate took a different turn.
  • After the US Open five years ago, Barty left competitive tennis. A successful junior player Barty won the 2011 Wimbledon girls’ title, and played in three doubles finals too.
  • Barty, who came in the French Open seeded eighth, became the first Australian in 46 years to lift the women’s trophy at Roland Garros.

“It’s been the most incredible journey for me and my team,” Barty said on the court after her win, according to 10 Daily.

  • The pressure and expectations took a toll on her as she decided to take a break from tennis. She chose cricket in 2014 and joined a professional team at home in Australia. She played the women’s Big Bash League for Brisbane Heat, playing nine matches for a top score of 39.
  • The 23-year-old is the first player from her country to win in Paris since Margaret Court in 1973.
  • Earlier this year at the Miami Open, Barty had a career-high 15 aces and became the newest 2019 titlist on the WTA circuit. The former professional cricket player won her fourth tennis title and the biggest of her career.

  • She also became the fifth different Miami Open women’s champion in the past five years, and she’s the 14th different WTA titlist in 2019.
  • She made her country proud by winning the Wimbledon girls’ title in 2011 at age 15, but gave up tennis to play professional cricket in Brisbane before returning to the tour in 2016.
  • She also played for the Brisbane Heat cricket team in the 2015-16 Big Bash League.
  • Hungrier than ever, Barty now eyes to continue competing for Grand Slams.

READ: Retribution In Tutu: Serena Williams’ Fitting Reply To Catsuit Ban

Career highlights

  • Barty overtook the top ranking from Japan’s Naomi Osaka after winning Birmingham Classic
  • She is the first Australian after legendary champion Goolagong Cawley to achieve the title
  • Barty’s win over Julia Goerge records her winning streak of 12 matches

Barty is now prepping for next week’s Wimbledon Grand Slam as the tournament’s number one seed.

Feature Image Credit : The New Daily

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