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June 24, 2019

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Australian ace Barty on top of the world

Ashleigh Barty defeated Julia Goerges 6-3, 7-5 to win the Birmingham Classic title yesterday, a victory that ensures the Australian will be No. 1 in the rankings today.

The 23-year-old Barty, who lost the final to Czech Petra Kvitova in 2017, did not drop a set all week at the grasscourt tournament, and she fought back from being 4-5 down in the second set to beat the German in 1 hour, 28 minutes.

Goerges fought back tears as she congratulated her friend on taking top spot in the rankings ahead of Wimbledon, which starts on July 1.

French Open champion Barty, currently ranked No. 2, will take over from Japan’s Naomi Osaka, who lost to Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan in the second round.

Barty is only the second Australian woman to hold the top spot after Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1976.

Barty, who extended her winning streak to 11 matches, and Goerges reached the semifinals in doubles together before Barty withdrew from their semifinal with a right arm injury.

Barty saved two break points early in the first set but she made no mistake when she was offered the opportunity — Goerges putting a backhand wide to give the Australian a 4-2 lead. Barty closed out the set without further ado.

Goerges, though, struck back in the second set, breaking Barty in her first service game and the German held her own to move into a 3-0 lead. Barty broke back, however, when Goerges sent a forehand out to get back to 3-2.

Goerges, leading 4-3, took Barty’s next service game to deuce with a superb volley, but the Australian extricated herself from trouble and leveled at 4-4.

Barty had a break point in the next game but Goerges managed to fight back and win the game to go 5-4 up.

Goerges had a set point in the next game but Barty, showing her championship winning mentality, saved it with an ace and then held serve to make it 5-5.

Barty broke Goerges in the next game to wrap up the he title and the top spot with her service game.

In Halle, Roger Federer warmed up for Wimbledon by swatting aside David Goffin 7-6 (2), 6-1 to win the Halle Open title for the 10th time yesterday.

The Swiss fired seven aces and broke Goffin’s serve three times to down his Belgian opponent in 83 minutes for his 102nd tour-level title that moved him to within seven of Jimmy Connors’ record.

It was also the 19th tour-level title on grass for the 37-year-old, who will be among the top contenders at Wimbledon as he looks to increase his Grand Slam haul of 20 trophies.

“It’s unbelievable. I never thought when I first played here that I would win 10 titles,” Federer said.

After being dragged to three sets in two of his first three rounds in Germany, Federer looked set for another tough fight when world No. 33 Goffin earned three consecutive break points at 2-2 in the opening set.

However, Goffin failed to capitalize on those chances as his opponent took charge, becoming the oldest tour-level champion since a 43-year-old Ken Rosewall of Australia prevailed in China’s Hong Kong in 1977. Federer is seeking a ninth title at Wimbledon.


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