'New era': Ash Barty echoes Serena Williams dominance to end debate

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·Sports Reporter
·6-min read
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Ash Barty (pictured left) thanking the fans after her win and (pictured right) Serena Williams hugging the Australian Open trophy.
Ash Barty (pictured left) has silenced many critics after her fifth title of the year and had many calling her World No.1 reign as the most consistent since Serena Williams (pictured right). (Getty Images)

Ash Barty has enjoyed a stellar year as World No.1 and her utter dominance at the Southern & Western Open has many comparing her reign to that of legend Serena Williams.

The World No.1 didn't drop a set in Cincinnati to take home the Southern & Western Open after defeating surprise finalist Jill Teichmann in the final 6-3, 6-1.

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The dominant win marked Barty's 40th match victory of the year, another tournament-leading figure, and took her record in finals this year to 5-1.

Barty's only defeat coming from Aryna Sabalenka in Madrid while she's lifted titles in Melbourne, Miami, Stuttgart, Wimbledon and now Cincinnati.

The Australian holds a 14-1 record against Top 20 players in 2021 and has won 16 of her last 17 Tour matches.

To make her feat even more remarkable, Barty has extended her lead at the top as the World No.1

With her title in Cincinnati, Barty will top 10,000 ranking points for the first time in her career.

Barty will reach 10,185 points after her victory, taking her more than 3,000 points clear of new World No.2 Aryna Sabalenka.

Naomi Osaka will drop to World No.3 and sit well behind Barty on 6,666 points.

Barty's continued dominance finally has the majority of critics coming around to the fact the Australian is the undisputed World No.1.

Serena Williams (pictured) poses with the winner's trophy at Wimbledon.
Serena Williams has won 23 Grand Slam titles and was No.1 for 186 consecutive weeks at one stage. (GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

The Australian was criticised for holding her World No.1 spot throughout 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic caused havoc with the tennis schedule.

Ranking systems were frozen, which allowed Barty to hold on to most of her ranking points despite remaining in Australia.

The naysayers believed Naomi Osaka was the more deserving World No.1, having won the Australian Open and US Open titles twice each.

Barty's incredible consistency in 2021, which has included at least one title on all surfaces, had many in the tennis community lauding her as the most reliable World No.1 since Serena Williams' years of dominance.

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While Barty has been incredibly consistent, she still falls short compared to the tennis legend.

Williams enjoyed 186 consecutive weeks as World No.1 at one stage and has held the spot for 319 weeks throughout her career.

Ash Barty's class act in Cincinnati title

Australia's World No.1 again looked in a different league to her opponent, winning the 13th title of her career at a seeming canter in one hour 12 minutes.

Teichmann, at No.76, was the lowest-ranked Cincinnati finalist for 13 years and looking to continue a giant-killing week which had already seen her beat Olympic champion Belinda Bencic, World No.2 Osaka and Wimbledon finalist Karolina Pliskova.

As she collected her runner's-up trophy, Teichmann, who's come through injury battles to demonstrate that she could well go on to join the elite, gave an indication of what Barty's opponents think of the Australian.

"Congratulation Ash, you're an exceptional number one, you're great on court and off court, so very, very good for you and your team and keep it going."

Ash Barty (pictured) smiles as she poses with the winner's trophy at the Western & Southern Open.
Ash Barty (pixitured) poses with the winner's trophy after defeating Jil Teichmann during the final of the Western & Southern Open. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Barty was lauded for her gracious response to Teichmann's praise in her victory speech.

"First of all, Jil, what a week, mate! This is where you belong with your level and it's so nice to see you play your best tennis this week."

Pointing to her trophy, she added: "I know over the next few years, you'll win many of these."

Barty will now head into the US Open as a firm favourite due to her form, and the current run of woes for defending champion Osaka.

with AAP

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