Ashleigh Barty, of Australia, returns a shot to Sofia Kenin, of the United States, during the Rogers Cup women’s tennis tournament Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in Toronto. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)
Ashleigh Barty, of Australia, returns a shot to Sofia Kenin, of the United States, during the Rogers Cup women’s tennis tournament Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in Toronto. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

Barty not in panic mode despite No 1 blow

Ashleigh Barty's run as world number one will come to an end next week with Naomi Osaka or Karolina Pliskova set to replace the Aussie.

Barty's position was on the rocks after she suffered an unexpected Rogers Cup defeat to Sofia Kenin Sofia Kenin which meant Osaka needed just one win to resume her place atop the rankings.

The Japanese grand slam winner didn't even need to complete a match with her opponent Tatjana Maria retiring after the first set.

Should Osaka leapfrog Barty it would be her second stint as No 1 this year having previously held the spot for 18 weeks after winning the Australian Open in January.

Pliskova meanwhile is looking to return to the top for the first time since 2017.

The Czech must advance to the semi-finals to have a chance at returning to No.1, however, if Osaka reaches to the quarterfinals, then Pliskova would need to reach the final.

Should the duo meet in the final it's winner takes all.

Barty, the first Australian women's No 1 since Evonne Goolagong Cawley had held the position since claiming the Nature Valley Classic title in Birmingham in June, but a disappointing start to the hardcourt season has now seen her overtaken.

It's not panic stations for Barty however, with the French Open champion insisting there's a long way to go:

"I think it was a little of rust but I think just in general it was just a bit loose,' she said earlier this week. "At times I was missing by big margins, which is not something that I'm used to or comfortable with, but it's not panic stations.

"It's my first match on hardcourt in a long time."

All is not lost for the Aussie.

Osaka, as the defending US Open champion will have significant points to defend when the final grand slam of the year gets under way in New York at the end of this month.

At Flushing Meadows time last year Barty reached the fourth round where she fell to Piskova meaning she would have a smaller mountain to climb than her closest rivals.

News Corp Australia


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