'Somebody messed up': Ash Barty faces 'impossible' Wimbledon scenario

World No.1 Ash Barty (pictured) fixing her hat during her Wimbledon Third Round match.
World No.1 Ash Barty (pictured) is facing a unique scheduling situation at Wimbledon due to the 'frozen system' rankings. (Getty Images)

World No.1 Ash Barty has been embroiled in an odd Wimbledon drama as she prepares to line-up against her next opponent.

Barty played her best match of the tournament so far as she lifted her game and defeated the dangerous Czech Katerina Siniakova 6-3, 7-5 on Saturday.

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The World No.1 set up a clash with the in-form Barbora Krejcikova, who most recently stunned the tennis world after she won Roland Garros.

Six weeks ago, the 25-year-old had never even won a singles title, before her career was headlined by a French Open triumph that left everyone, not least her, feeling a little open-mouthed.

The intriguing battle of two players that have an all-court game has many tennis purists licking their lips.

But Krejcikova's form and the tweak in the ranking system, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, has created an 'impossible' scenario for Barty.

Lead tennis reporter, Jose Morgado, pointed out that Barty's strong clay-court campaign - before her injury - has the Aussie winning the WTA year-end race with the most points of 3,381 in 2021.

But second to her is Krejcikova on 3,258.

However, the World No.15 hasn't climbed the World rankings because of the 'frozen rankings' system introduced to the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Morgado pointed out Barty would not have run into Krejcikova so early into the tournament if it wasn't for the system.

When pressed on why this has happened, Morgado doubled down and said this was an 'impossible' scenario until recent events.

Morgado pointed out that a player earning that many ranking points in one year would normally be inside the World Top 12.

Regardless, Barty is already in puzzle mode as she prepares to crack the in-form Czech star.

Ash Barty relaxed ahead of Krejcikova challenge

Barty and Krejcikova bave clashed in the past, but only in the double's arena.

Krejcikova was full of praise for the World No.1 Aussie and said she often watches Barty's matches for inspiration.

Barty was equally humble and said she looks forward to the tricky challenge.

"I have played her plenty of times in the doubles court. Never on the singles court. It's a new experience for both of us, some new challenges that for sure will force some of my best tennis," she said.

"I'm looking forward to that challenge, trying to figure out her game, kind of piece together the puzzle that she presents."

Barty admits she didn't watch too much of Krejcikova's run to the Roland Garros title because she was dealing with her own injury disappointment "and wasn't in a frame of mind to watch any of the matches in Paris."

But a battle between the 2019 and 2021 French Open champions, with their games full of variety and intelligence, should be a treat for tennis connoisseurs.

"If it's easy on the eyes, then that's nice. But if it's not, it won't bother me in the slightest," reckons Barty.

So, she's happy to win ugly?

"A win's a win they always say, right?" she smiles.

with AAP

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