Australian Ashleigh Barty defeated Barbora Strycova 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals of the Nature Valley Classic at Birmingham, England, on Saturday.
In the finals on Sunday, Barty will meet Julia Goerges of Germany with a chance to claim the world No. 1 ranking. She’d be the first Australian since Evonne Goolagong Cawley 43 years ago to hold the top spot.
Two weeks removed from winning the French Open, Barty needed just one hour and 14 minutes to top Strycova. She hit 11 aces and 14 winners and never lost serve to the Czech.
After the match, Barty said her focus would be on Goerges, not on knocking Naomi Osaka from the No. 1 ranking.
“I have to try and do what I can do and that is prepare and do as best that I can [Sunday] and try and play a good tennis match and if I win, it’s a bonus,” said Barty, the tournament’s second seed. “There are all things that come with it, but those things are certainly not what I’m worried about.”
Goerges, the No. 8 seed, defeated Petra Martic 6-4, 6-3 to set up the title match against Barty. The two are doubles partners and opted to retire from their semifinals doubles match on Saturday.
Against Martic, a Croatian, she had six aces and 34 winners.
Goerges and Barty will meet on grass for the second time – the third time overall – and are tied 1-1.
“It is not a big secret of playing each other since we practice all the time together,” Goerges said.
American Sofia Kenin, the seventh seed, upset second-seeded Latvian Anastasija Sevastova 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 at Mallorca, Spain.
Kenin hit 23 winners and broke Sevastova’s serve four times to reach her third final of the year. She is seeking her second win of the season and her second career win. She won in Hobart, Australia, in January.
She will meet Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, the No. 3 seed, in the finals on Sunday. Bencic ousted top-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany 2-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4.
The match between Kerber and Bencic was as close as a match can get: each woman won 50 percent of the points. The difference was Bencic’s ability to break Kerber’s serve in the deciding set.
–Field Level Media