Birmingham | Barty downs Venus
Ashleigh Barty, the French Open champion, is two wins away from taking over the top ranking from Naomi Osaka after dispatching the veteran Venus Williams 6-4 6-3 in the Nature Valley Classic quarter-final in Birmingham.
I feel like every match is getting a little bit better and better on the grass, and it's just nice to give myself another opportunity to get on the grass courts and to play another singles match Ashleigh Barty
The Australian would take over the No.1 ranking the week before Wimbledon but needs to win the Birmingham title to do so.
In the meantime she has now collected 10 consecutive wins as she continues to impress following her first major victory a fortnight ago.
“I feel like every match is getting a little bit better and better on the grass, and it’s just nice to give myself another opportunity to get on the grass courts and to play another singles match,” said Barty.
“It’s always a privilege to play against a champion like Venus. She’s done incredible things for our sport. She’s inspired generations to pick up a tennis racket. Any time you get to play against her, it’s a real privilege.”
Williams made the better start as the 39-year-old took a 4-1 first-set lead only for Barty to respond in kind by claiming the next five games and the set.
Having held off Williams in her first service game of the second when the American had two chances to break the Aussie, Barty took control with two breaks to take the match.
Barty will face Barbora Strycova in Saturday’s semi-finals, the Czech having won a rather one-sided battle with Krystina Pliskova 6-2 6-4 to reach the last four in Birmingham for the fourth time in six appearances.
In the other semi-final, German Julia Goerges takes on Petra Martic, who survived five match points to oust former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.
Martic trailed 5-2 in the second set having lost the first on a tie-break, but rallied to win the next five games before tearing through the third 6-1.
“I still can’t believe that I won this match,” said Martic.
Goerges, a Wimbledon semi-finalist in 2018, was far more comfortable in her 6-3, 6-2 victory over Yulia Putintseva who knocked out world number one Naomi Osaka on Thursday.