World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty has been stating the case for her second grand slam. Following up her surprise clay victory at Roland Garros, her all-around game was expected to perfectly suit grass once she got to SW19. The combination of her grass title at Birmingham and the ease with which she's gone through her Wimbledon matches, it's a good bet that she's on her way to booking a finals spot at the All England Club.
Ash Barty hasn't dropped a set yet, playing with commanding fashion in her first round against Zheng Saisai, 6-4, 6-2. The Queensland native needed just 54 minutes to defeat her second round opponent, Alison Van Uytvanck, 6-1, 6-3.
In the match with Van Uytvanck, Barty hit 14 winners. Her commanding second match performance included winning 79% of her first serve points, converting 5/7 break chances, winning at net 10/15 opportunities, but also countering with 30/49 baseline rallies.
Her confidence and variety will continue to serve her well as she progresses throughout the fortnight. “It was a really clean match overall, not too many errors across the whole match. I had a bit of a blemish trying to serve out the match but am really happy with today,” said the American afterwards.
The French Open champion has never made it past the third round at the All England Club before, but Barty's having an extraordinary year. Achieving the top ranking in the WTA, her first Masters title in Miami, and first slam championship, it seems as if no one can stop her from winning back-to-back slam titles.
There is a tremendous depth of field on the women's side, and the No. 1 ranking has exchanged hands several times in the last year or so. Getting to the top spot often comes with the added pressure of retaining the position in addition to lining up slams to go along with it.
Just ask Naomi Osaka, Caroline Wozniacki, Simona Halep, and Karolina Pliskova. Barty strikes me as different, more affable, and perhaps less rattled by the stress of being world No. 1. She's handling the pressure just fine so far.
Next up for Ash Barty is British wild card Harriet Dart, aged 22, and playing at Wimbledon for the second time. Their match will take place on Saturday.