Just two weeks after winning her maiden Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, Australia’s Ashleigh Barty claimed a Premier-level title on the grasscourts of the Nature Valley Classic, beating doubles partner Julia Goerges of Germany in Sunday’s final 6-3 7-5.
One break of serve, in the six-minute sixth game, was enough for the second-seeded Barty to claim the first set. Objectively, the eighth-seeded Goerges was just as close to being the first to go up a break, if not closer, but she gave away a number of cheap points — Goerges hit 13 winners to 13 unforced errors in the first set, while Barty’s ratio was 6 to 4.
Goerges’ troubles continued at the start of the second set, as she barely held her opening serve, saving two break points, but that hold briefly lifted her confidence and she broke Barty in the following game with a fierce return on break point and soon established a promising 3-0 lead. Barty hung in there, leveled to 3-3, and soon afterwards survived a crucial moment by saving a set point at Goerges’ 5-4 lead, eventually winning three straight games to win her 12th match in a row.
Commenting on her final opponent, Barty said:
I couldn’t think of a better person to share the court with.
Barty and Goerges were teamed up in doubles competition at this week’s Nature Valley Classic and even advanced to the semifinals, but they decided to retire from their doubles semis in order to focus on today’s big singles final.
The 23-year-old Barty has now won her sixth WTA title and a rise to the No.1 ranking. The former cricket player will now overtake Naomi Osaka at the top of the WTA ranking, dethroning the Japanese who has occupied the position since winning her second Grand Slam title at the Australian Open this January.
Barty’s list of obstacles at the 2019 Nature Valley Classic included a number of tricky players: Donna Vekic in first round, Jennifer Brady in the second, Venus Williams in the quarterfinals, Barbora Strycova in the semis, and finally Goerges, who had defeated her in their last year’s meeting in Birmingham.
When it comes to Barty’s winning black-and-white apparel, the Australian is clad in Fila’s special P.L. Rolando collection that also accompanied her during her Paris title run.