Barty reaches Birmingham final to boost world No. 1 bid

Ashleigh Barty 2019 Birmingham

Ash Barty Is Now Just Two Wins Away From World Number One After Defeating Venus Williams

Ash Barty is now just two wins away from the world number one ranking, after defeating Venus Williams to reach the semi-finals of Birmingham's Nature Valley Classic.

The 23-year-old French Open champion beat Goerges 6-3, 7-5 in 88 minutes and will replace Naomi Osaka at the top of the rankings when they are updated on Monday.

It means Barty will be Australia's first women's World No.1 since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1976, and will snare the top seed at Wimbledon. The former junior Wimbledon champion took an indefinite break from tennis at the end of 2014, recently citing mental health issues as the reason, and played Big Bash cricket for Brisbane Heat before returning to the sport in 2016.

"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", said Barty, who is seeking her sixth WTA tour title at an event where she was runner-up to Petra Kvitova in 2017.

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'You always dream of it (being world No 1) as a little kid but for it to become a reality is incredible.

'We started from scratch three and a half years ago without a ranking and now to be where we are is not only for me, but a massive, massive achievement for them'.

Barty is the 27th woman to top the rankings - and the fourth-youngest in a decade.

John Newcombe, Pat Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt are the three Australian men to have topped the tennis world since rankings were introduced in 1973.

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There will be no elaborate celebrations for Barty, however, as she said she was getting straight in a auto to head own to Eastbourne to continue her Wimbledon preparations.

Making a seamless transition from clay to grass, the Queenslander didn't drop a set in five matches in Birmingham.

In an odd twist of fate, Barty and Goerges are playing doubles together at the tournament, and have reached the semi-finals.

She also failed to surrender a set in her opening two doubles matches in Birmingham with Goerges before withdrawing from their scheduled semi-final to conserve energy for singles.

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Barty pulled the break back in the fifth game and saved a set point at 4-5 with an ace, leveling the score and securing a break in game 11 after prevailing in the contest of slices.

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