Ash Barty's ruthless act silences critics in Naomi Osaka debate

Ash Barty (pictured right) smiles with the Wimbledon trophy and (pictured left) Naomi Osaka dejected during her Tokyo Olympics loss.
Ash Barty (pictured right) continues to silence critics after taking her 2021 record against Top 20 players to 13-1, while World No.2 Naomi Osaka (pictured left) has struggled on tour since her Australian Open title. (Getty Images)

Ash Barty's ruthless dismantling of Victoria Azarenka at the Southern & Western Open surprised many in the tennis world, but the victory has only cemented her spot as the undisputed World No.1 in 2021.

The Australian looked to be finding her groove in her opening match against Heather Watson, but in the highly-anticipated showdown with Azarenka, Barty swept her aside in a near flawless 6-0, 6-2 win.

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Barty was ruthless as she fired down six aces, had a 1st service rate of 84% and won 60 of 101 points in the demolition of the two-time Grand Slam champion.

And the match only cemented her spot at the top of the women's game.

Many have questioned Barty's reign as the long-term World No.1.

Barty took her record to 13-1 against women ranked in the Top 20 in 2021.

Furthermore, Barty is sitting on 9,286 ranking points after her historic Wimbledon title.

World No.2 Osaka looked to be the greatest threat to Barty's World No.1 spot at the beginning of the year.

However, with just one more Grand Slam remaining in 2021, Osaka is sitting more than 2,000 points behind her.

And Osaka's shock loss to Jill Teichmann in the third round of the Southern & Western Open won't help her chances of chasing down Barty anytime soon.

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Barty's spectacular performance against another highly ranked opponent, and a former doubles partner in Azarenka, had fans praising her reign at the top of the women's game.

Barty is also nearly 1,500 points clear in the WTA 2021 rankings race, despite having played four tournaments less than 2nd place Aryna Sabalenka.

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.

Barty's top ranking came off the back of winning the French Open and year-end WTA titles in 2019, holding onto the massive haul of points she'd earned in the process.

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

However, since the return of the WTA Tour, Barty has dominated and her 2021 record against top opponents is just one justification of why she is a the pinnacle of the women's game.

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