Naomi Osaka suffers crushing new blow amid Ash Barty triumph

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·Sports Editor
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Naomi Osaka and Ash Barty, pictured here at the Cincinnati Masters.
Naomi Osaka has dropped to World No.3, while Ash Barty has surged even further ahead as No.1. Image: Getty

Naomi Osaka has lost her second spot in the WTA rankings after being overtaken by Aryna Sabalenka heading into the US Open.

Sabalenka climbed one place in the latest rankings released on Monday, unseating Osaka in second spot.

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Neither Sabalenka or Osaka made it to the latter stages of the Cincinnati Masters, however Osaka fell because she was defending more rankings points.

It's a fresh blow for the four-time grand slam champion following a tumultuous few months.

After withdrawing from the French Open and skipping Wimbledon due to mental health reasons, Osaka suffered a shock third-round loss at her home Olympics in Tokyo.

She then suffered another huge upset at the hands of Jill Teichmann in the Round of 16 in Cincinnati.

Meanwhile, Ash Barty has surged even further ahead in the No.1 spot, going past 10,000 rankings points for the first time.

After winning her fifth title of the year in Cincinnati, Barty now enters her 83rd-consecutive week as World No.1 - and 90th overall.

The streak marks the ninth-most weeks for female players at World No.1, with Barty now eyeing Lindsay Davenport’s mark of 98 weeks to move into eighth place.

The gap between Barty and World No.2 Sabalenka is a staggering 3175 points.

Aryna Sabalenka, pictured here in action at the Western & Southern Open.
Aryna Sabalenka in action at the Western & Southern Open. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

WTA rankings (as of August 24)

1. Ash Barty (AUS) - 10,185 pts

2. Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) - 7010

3. Naomi Osaka (JPN) - 6666

4. Karolina Pliskova (CZE) - 5530

5. Sofia Kenin (USA) - 5030

6. Elina Svitolina (UKR) - 5030

7. Bianca Andreescu (CAN) - 4537

8. Iga Swiatek (POL) - 4461

9. Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) - 4273

10. Garbine Muguruza (ESP) - 4210

Ash Barty targets US Open glory after stellar season

Meanwhile, Barty reckons her week's work in Ohio, which culminated in a 6-3 6-1 demolition for her fifth title of 2021, now puts her in "really good stead" for the US Open.

The Wimbledon champion, who didn't drop a set all week in Cincinnati, again looked in a different class to her opponent Teichmann, winning the final in just 72 minutes for the 13th title of her career.

"It's been an awesome week. I felt like with each match we're getting progressively better and better in most parts of my game," Barty said, as usual referring to her success as 'we' to make it clear it was another team effort.

"Today, I feel like I was able to really trust myself and play with confidence, get after the ball, be aggressive and get a bit of a run on, which was going to be important in a big final.

"We're just excited we've got matches under our belt in tough conditions here in Cincy - and that's put us in really good stead going into New York."

Teichmann, at No.76 the lowest-ranked Cincinnati finalist for 13 years, had defeated Osaka, Olympic champion Belinda Bencic and Wimbledon finalist Karolina Pliskova this week.

The athletic left-hander reckoned she would "go for it" against Barty but found the Queenslander a quite different proposition.

The Aussie won 85 per cent of the points behind her devastating, accurately-placed first serve while breaking Teichmann on five occasions.

Barty became the first Australian woman to win the Cincinnati title since Evonne Goolagong in 1973.

It was her 40th match win of the year, another tour-leading figure, and took her record in finals this year to 5-1 - the only defeat to Sabalenka in Madrid.

Barty has lifted titles in Melbourne, Miami, Stuttgart, Wimbledon and now Cincinnati this year.

with agencies

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