Australia’s world no. 1 Ash Barty has been a model of consistency in 2021.
The Australian has played in seven tournaments so far, including Rome, which is in progress. Barty has reached the quarterfinals or better in all but one.
Barty’s only failure in 2021, was at the Adelaide International where she lost her opening match, a round two match against Danielle Collins. That was when she was troubled by a thigh injury.
In the other completed tournaments Barty has claimed the WTA500 Yarra Valley Classic, WTA1000 Miami Open, WTA500 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart and she was runner-up last week in the WTA1000 Mutua Madrid Open.
Barty has added two more wins at the WTA1000 Rome event to that her to a Tour-leading 27th match-win for the season.
The latest win was against Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova 6-3, 6-3.
Even as the world no. 1 and having played in big stadiums around the world Barty can appreciate new surroundings.
“I think once I walked out there, it was a bit of a ‘wow’ factor,” Barty told the press, after contesting a match on the center court in Rome for the first time. “Pretty impressive center court, took some time to get used to that.”
“Without a doubt, happy with how we were able to tactically move about that match today and kind of stick to what we hoped would work and be able to execute,” Barty added.
Barty hit 20 winners, including an impressive nine aces against an opponent that recently claimed her first WTA title in Charleston last month on the green clay.
Barty’s next opponent prevented Barty and Sabalenka facing each other in three consecutive tournaments. Cori Gauff defeating Aryna Sabalenka 7-5, 6-3.
Sabalenka defeated Barty in the Madrid final last week and before that it was Barty that took the title in Stuttgart.
“Coco has shown that she loves to bring her best tennis against the players that challenge her the most,” Barty said. “She’s played an exceptional tournament thus far. She’s got the ability to take the game on. She’s aggressive, she can run, she can trust her legs.
“I think it’s going to be important for me to try to get the match back on my terms as often as possible. I know when they’re in her patterns, the way she likes to play, she’s extremely dangerous and very good at what she does. I think it’s going to be a new challenge, a clean slate for both of us.”
Barty is looking to further consolidate her spot at no. 1 after Naomi Osaka’s round two loss.
On the live rankings Barty holds a 2714 point lead over Osaka, she does however have 2470 points to defend from her June 2019 titles at Roland Garros and Birmingham.