The reigning Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty was the player on a mission at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham, chasing both the title and world no. 1 spot! The Japanese Naomi Osaka notched another early exit and Barty was there to lift the trophy and become the 27th player on the WTA throne since 1975, the second from Australia after Evonne Goolagong Cawley who sat on the throne in 1976!
In the title match, Barty defeated her good friend and doubles partner Julia Goerges 6-3, 7-5 in an hour and 28 minutes, becoming the first player with three WTA titles in 2019 and earning enough points to leave Osaka behind and write history.
Three years after being unranked, the Aussie has become the new WTA queen, deciding to withdraw from Eastbourne and take some rest ahead of the third Grand Slam of the season at Wimbledon where she stands as one of the favorites.
Dealing with an arm injury for seven years now, Ashleigh has to be careful after another big title and a huge success, taking the necessary week off and hoping to play at her best at the All England Club. The beaten finalist in Birmingham Julia Goerges has also pulled out from Eastbourne, needing more time to recover ahead of two most important weeks of the season.
“It’s an injury I have had to manage since I was 16,” Barty said. “It happens when I have a spike in load, it’s just a bone stress injury and I need to be careful about it. We know how to manage it although it is important to get on top of it straight away.
I pulled out of the doubles semi-final to give it the best chance to be ready for the singles final. I have to let my body to rest and manage it as best we can to make sure we are ready for Wimbledon. At the moment, we know how we have to plan it over the next three or four days so we know it can be as good as it can be.
If we do that well it should be fine. It’s about rest, it’s time off court and then monitoring how many balls I do hit when I am on the court. When I have a heavy week I have to make sure I am doing the right things”.