Barty cracks world top 10 after Miami Open victory
28 March 2019
TENNIS: At the Miami Open on Wednesday, Ash Barty ensured her place in the world’s top 10 by beating Petra Kvitova in the quarterfinals, her first win over the world number two in five attempts.
Barty's victory over Kvitova sends her through to her first WTA Premier Mandatory-level semifinal, and is projected to bump her up to world No.9.
The 22-year-old Australian has been open about the fact she was targeting a place in the game’s elite ranking class, and she was thrilled to finally get there.
“There you go. How bloody good,” she laughed when told it was official.
“It’s been a goal of mine – that’s no secret. And it’s amazing what happens when you put your hopes and dreams out into the universe, and do the work. It’s amazing.
“I had an opportunity last week that I wasn’t able to grab, and this week was about coming here and continuing to try and trust the process and enjoy the journey that I’m on. It’s a pretty beautiful thing, being able to play tennis for a living.”
The missed opportunity Barty refers to was against Elina Svitolina at Indian Wells; had she beaten the Ukrainian in the fourth round, she would have risen inside the top 10. She ultimately lost in an epic three-set affair spanning more than three hours.
What a way to rebound in the second of the “Sunshine Double” tournaments.
Barty becomes just the ninth Australian woman – after Margaret Court, Evonne Goolagong, Kerry Reid, Dianne Balestrat, Wendy Turnbull, Jelena Dokic, Alicia Molik and Sam Stosur – to crack the top 10 since the WTA rankings were introduced in 1975.
Barty is the first Australian in almost a decade to achieve the feat – Stosur was the last, in March 2010 – and is the youngest Australian to do so since an 18-year-old Dokic back in 2001.
She is the first player from her country to appear in the top 10 since Stosur last ranked there in June 2013.
What’s more, Barty becomes the only player in the world, female or male, to currently rank inside the top 10 in both singles and doubles.
“It’s pretty cool. It’s a goal that we set at the start of the year, and it’s been a goal of mine for a long time now. And it’s amazing that I’ve been able to achieve it,” she said.
“But there’s still a long way to go and I’m not satisfied – I’m still hungry to get better as a person and as a player. And if that means the ranking gets higher and higher, that’s pretty cool as well.”
Rankings are calculated on a players’ results in the past 12 months. And Barty’s have been extremely impressive.
In the 19 tournaments she has played in that time, she has fallen in the first round just once – to Maria Sharapova in Rome. She owns a 35-9 win-loss record on hard courts in that time and has built a 45-2 record in matches during which she has won the first set.
She’s currently the holder of two titles and reached the final in Sydney in January, and achieved her best Grand Slam result at the recent Australian Open. She also progressed to the semifinals at prestigious WTA tournaments in Montreal, Wuhan and now Miami.
This year alone, her win-loss record is 16-3, including six wins over top 20-ranked opponents – more than she recorded during the entire 2018 season.
Almost all of her very best results have been achieved since a watershed moment at Wimbledon in July, where she led Daria Kasatkina 4-1 in the opening set of their third-round match before unravelling.
“I think it’s been a massive difference since Wimbledon last year – I think for me that was a bit of a turning point,” Barty revealed.
“We’ve done a lot of hard work over the last eight, nine, 10 months, whatever it is, to try and get that little bit better and try and try and tick every box that we can.
“I feel like that’s made an amazing difference in my tennis, and both (in) me as a person and a player.”