Australia’s Ash Barty has defeated USA’s, Jennifer Brady 6-3, 6-1 to stay on track to become world no. 1.
Barty’s cause was helped by Yulia Putintseva who defeated Naomi Osaka the current world no. 1 6-2, 6-3.
“I was expecting a tough battle, which is what happened, and the score doesn’t tell the fight that was there,” Putintseva said in her post-match press conference. “So many games went deuce, advantage, and I could have lost those, but in the end I won them. I’m happy to get through and another win on grass.”
As Osaka won her first round match, Barty now needs to win the Birmingham title to claim the no. 1 ranking. If Barty reaches the final but loses, she will fall two rankings points short of the top spot.
In the match against Brady it was tight for the first few games. Brady presented Barty with two break points after she double-faulted in the opening game. She would fight back to hold serve.
Barty easily held serve early in the match and then had another look at a break point in the fifth game after Brady hit a backhand long. A double-fault conceded the first break of serve.
The world no. 2 consolidated the break to lead 4-2. In the next service game from Brady, Barty hit a slice backhand passing shot to bring up another break point. A backhand slice return into the net saw that disappear. Brady would serve an Ace to hold serve to see Barty serving next at 4-3.
With Brady serving to stay in the first set it was a forehand winner then another big forehand that forced an error from Brady that gave Barty two set points. Brady hit into the net to concede the first set.
Barty opened the second set by holding serve, then the players were sent to the locker room with Brady serving at 40-30 as rain fell in Birmingham. When play resumed Brady held serve for 1-1.
After Barty held again it was Brady serving at 1-2 and after she hit long the American was facing a break point. Barty played great defence and tossed up a lob that Brady mishit into the net when attempting a smash.
Brady had a look at a break point after Barty hit just wide at 30-30. Brady then also just missed the sideline to see that opportunity slip away.
That would be the only break opportunity for Brady in the match. After holding Barty was up 4-1. In the next Brady service game Barty had two break points after Brady hit over the baseline. The break was converted after Brady again hit long.
Barty then wrapped up the match.