Roland Garros winner Ashleigh Barty won a 12th match in a row to clinch her ascension to World No.1 after claiming the Nature Valley Classic title in Birmingham.
David Kane
June 23, 2019

BIRMINGHAM, Great Britain - Reigning Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty not only captured her sixth career WTA title at the Nature Valley Classic with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over No.8 seed Julia Goerges, but also completed her rise to the top of the WTA rankings, booking her spot as World No.1 come Monday.

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"It's just been the most incredible journey for myself and my team," Barty said during the trophy ceremony.

Barty will become the 27th woman to achieve the No.1 ranking - and the second from Australia after Evonne Goolagong Cawley - after the 88-minute win over Goerges, who was also her doubles partner this week in Birmingham.

"I couldn't think of a better person to share the court with," she said, addressing the German. "We had an incredible week in singles and doubles. You're one of my best friends on tour and you've been there for me since I was just a little tacker running around, annoying everyone!"

The Aussie rode an 11-match winning streak into Sunday's final, having captured her maiden major title in Paris two weeks ago, and fought off a pair of early break points in the first game to outserve the German in the opening set, striking six winners to four unforced errors.

"I just had to go for it. I had no other choice because any time I left the ball hanging, Jules was absolutely punishing me. I had to try and push that little bit extra to get on top of rallies. It was an incredibly high quality match and a day to remember."

While Barty is a former Wimbledon junior champion who historically excelled on faster surfaces before her stunning French Open triumph, Goerges typically enjoyed her best results on hardcourts and clay before reaching her first Grand Slam semifinal last summer at the All England Club.

Playing just her second singles final on grass - finishing runner-up at the 2017 Mallorca Open - Goerges rallied to start the second set, saving two break points in first game before nabbing her first break of the match, taking a 3-0 lead on the No.2 seed.


Undaunted, Barty swiftly leveled the set but Goerges held firm, saving a break point in the ninth game that would have allowed the Aussie to serve for the match. 

Barty would ultimately save a set point on her own serve and break Goerges off a wicked backhand slice.

Racing out to three match points, the 23-year-old became World No.1 off a high second serve the German put wide. Embracing Goerges at the net, Barty's smile lit up Ann Jones Centre Court as she put her hand to her mouth in disbelief.

"We had a very vague plan to try and get back in obviously to the rhythm of it and to playing again," she said in her post-match press conference of her 2016 comeback after a hiatus that briefly saw her join an Australian cricket team. "But certainly not for it to happen this quickly. It is always a goal to try and be the best. It's ultimately why we train, why we compete and play, but for it to happen in this way has been amazing. It's a testament to all of my team who have put so much time and invested so much passion and energy into my career and try and make me the best that I can be."


In all, she struck 18 winners to 11 unforced errors, nine aces - including one on set point in the first set - and converted three of seven break point opportunities.

"You always dream of No.1 as a little kid but to become a reality is incredible. It's not something that was even in my realm this year; we were aiming to be Top 10 and now to be where we are is a testament to the people around me who've been with me these last three years. We started from scratch, without a ranking, and to be where we are is a massive achievement for me and for them."

Barty was initially next scheduled to play the Nature Valley International in Eastbourne, where she was slated to be the top seed, but an arm injury forced her to withdraw.