Ash Barty has captured the hearts of Australian tennis fans with her thrilling race to the top of the rankings - and one moment of brilliance showed exactly why.
The in-form Aussie sent the tennis world into overdrive with several stunning highlights in her 6-4, 6-4 win over Barbora Strycova at the Birmingham Classic.
None stood out more than a centimetre-perfect drop shot that left Strycova absolutely gobsmacked, yelling out “no way!” before smiling in disbelief.
Barty produced an insane pick-up off her toes, somehow sending the ball back over the net and landing it right on the outside of the line.
The ball had so much funky spin that Strycova had absolutely no hope of retrieving it.
Ridiculous shot— Victor Yong (@BigV2011WCE) June 22, 2019
That is unbelievable— JenJen (@JenJen3187) June 22, 2019
Go Ash! 🔥🔥🔥🔥— Jemma🦋 (@xLaReineNoirex) June 22, 2019
eat that ion tiriac!!! amazing player AB— Matthew Harris (@E5C4P366) June 22, 2019
You know your shot was pretty good when opponent shouts "No way!" 🎾😁Ash reaction is pretty cool too 🙂— Twice Dice (@NoppaNoppa1) June 22, 2019
What an absolute joy to watch— Rose38 (@Rose3847843580) June 23, 2019
Barty will face Julia Goerges in the final, with not only the tournament, but the No.1 ranking up for grabs.
If she does succeed, it would see her emulate the feat of her idol Evonne Goolagong Cawley - the last Aussie woman to occupy top spot 43 years ago.
Barty's 6-4 6-4 victory over the world No.50 was her 11th in succession and extended her 2019 record to 35-5 - the best of any player on the WTA tour.
"I served really well in the second set to keep in touch and knew I needed to take my chance when I got one," Barty said.
"On grass, she is very effective and it was important for me to get on top on my rallies and use my forehand as much as I could."
Barty's last defeat came on May 16 against Kristina Mladenovic at the Italian Open in Rome.
Success in Birmingham would be her third tournament win in a magnificent three months after victory at Roland Garros and in March at Miami.
It continues her phenomenal turnaround since returning to tennis in 2016, with a ranking of 623, after an 18-month sabbatical and playing cricket in the WBBL with Brisbane Heat.
Should Barty lift the title, she will usurp Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka and become only the 27th woman in 49 years to hold the No.1 ranking and head to Wimbledon as the top-seeded player.