FILE PHOTO: Tennis – WTA Premier – Nature Valley Classic – Edgbaston Priory Club, Edgbaston, Birmingham, Britain – June 21, 2019 Australia’s Ashleigh Barty celebrates winning her quarter final match against Venus Williams of the U.S. Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine/File Photo
Ashleigh Barty has been world No. 1 for just a couple weeks, but the Australian already faces a slew of challengers for the throne when Wimbledon begins Monday.
No. 2 Naomi Osaka of Japan, No. 3 Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, No. 4 Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands and No. 6 Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic all have a mathematical chance to vault to the No. 1 spot, depending on their success over the fortnight ahead.
Barty, just the second Australian to hold the WTA’s top ranking, is coming off back-to-back titles — including the French Open — but has never reached the second week at the All-England Club.
Osaka has the best chance. She trails by 118 points and could take over No. 1 as early as the third round if Barty is eliminated in the first round.
A run to the semifinals would conceivably be enough to vault Pliskova into the lead; winning outright would guarantee it.
Bertens and Kvitova would both need to win and have Barty, Osaka and Pliskova fail to reach the final to earn the top spot.
Barty leads the WTA this season with a 35-5 record and shares the lead with three titles. She was also a junior champion at Wimbledon in 2011, when she was 15 years old.
—Field Level Media