Ash Barty secures World No.1 ranking in incredible 43-year first

Ash Barty has won the Birmingham WTA event to secure the World No.1 ranking.

After Naomi Osaka suffered a shock loss in the second round, Barty needed to win the title to overtake the Japanese star for the No.1 spot.

On Sunday, she beat Julia Goerges 6-3, 7-5 in the final to do exactly that.

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.

KING OF HALLE: Federer matches insane Nadal feat with 102nd career title

She is also just the fifth Australian to top the rankings since they were introduced in 1973, joining Goolagong Cawley, John Newcombe, Pat Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt.

Her win over Goerges was her 12th in a row, extending the remarkable run that saw her claim a maiden grand slam title at the French Open.

Ashleigh Barty poses with the trophy.. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Ashleigh Barty poses with the trophy.. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Merciless in her pursuit of more historic honours, Barty crunched nine aces, broke Goerges three times and dropped serve just once in clinching her sixth career title with victory over the world No.19.

Barty trailed 3-0 in the second set but, once again showing her champion qualities, she fought back in typically unflappable fashion, saving a set point at 5-4 down with her seventh ace before eventually prevailing after one hour and 28 minutes.

Her last defeat came on May 16 against Kristina Mladenovic at the Italian Open in Rome.

‘Keep it simple’

Remarkably, Barty only returned to tennis three years ago after walking away from the sport, but in the last three months has gone from being a player to watch to one of the favourites to win Wimbledon.

It was with the pressure of expectation that weighed so heavily on her shoulders after winning junior Wimbledon in 2011 that made Barty take her sabbatical, but she is now relishing being seen as the player to beat.

"I keep it very simple," Barty said.

Ashleigh Barty celebrates. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images for LTA)
Ashleigh Barty celebrates. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images for LTA)

"They are things I can't control necessarily. 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.

"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.

"It is not going to change the way that I sleep at night, if I don't get there or not. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't."

Barty and world No.19 Goerges were due to play together in the doubles semi-final on Saturday, but they defaulted their match against Anna-Lena Gronefeld and Demi Schuurs to focus on the decider at the Edgbaston Priory.

with AAP