Ash Barty loses her world No. 1 ranking to Japanese star Naomi Osaka after Canadian Open defeat
- Ashleigh Barty’s eight-week reign as the WTA’s No.1 player in the world is over
- Naomi Osaka breezed past German opponent in second round of Canadian Open
- But Czech Karolina Pliskova could overtake both Osaka and Barty with deep run
Australian Ashleigh Barty’s eight-week reign as the WTA’s No.1 player in the world is over after Naomi Osaka breezed past her German opponent in the second round of the Canadian Open.
Barty’s 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-4 second round loss to American Sofia Kenin left the door open for the Japanese star and ex-world No.1, who snatched the opportunity with a 6-2 (ret.) victory over Tatjana Maria in Toronto on Thursday.
But Czech Karolina Pliskova, another former world No.1, could overtake both Osaka, the reigning US Open and Australian Open champion, as well as Barty, with a deep run in the tournament.
Australian Ashleigh Barty’s (pictured) eight-week reign as the WTA’s No.1 player in the world is over
Pliskova, the first Czech ever to hold the top spot, opened her campaign in Toronto perfectly by beating Alison Riske, the American who snapped Barty’s 15-match winning streak in the Wimbledon fourth round last month.
The Czech defeated Riske 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 and will face Anett Kontaveit, whose previous opponent Carla Suarez Navarro retired while trailing 7-5 3-1, on Friday.
If Osaka reaches the quarter-final or semi-final in Toronto, Pliskova would need to reach the final, or otherwise defeat her in the final to be No.1.
Meanwhile, Wimbledon champion Simona Halep survived a stern test from American qualifier Jennifer Brady with a 4-6 7-5 7-6 (7-5) victory to reach the last 16 and keep alive her hopes of a second consecutive title in Toronto.
Naomi Osaka (pictured) breezed past her German opponent in the second round of the Canadian Open
Fourth seed Halep, who requested a medical timeout to get treatment on her left leg after the second set, clinched the two-hour 26-minute battle on her second match point when a Brady backhand caught the top of the net.
‘She played great and … she made a great match and was really difficult to play against,’ Halep said in her on-court interview after her first career meeting with Brady.
Next up for Halep, who won the event last year in Montreal, will be the winner of Wednesday’s match between Croatia’s Donna Vekic and Russian wildcard Svetlana Kuznetsova.
In other early action, Ukrainian sixth seed Elina Svitolina, who won in Toronto two years ago, beat Czech Katerina Siniakova 6-3 3-6 6-3 to reach the third round.
Ukrainian teenager Dayana Yastremska, who has won titles in Strasbourg and Hua Hin this year, did well to shake off the nerves and secure a 7-5 7-5 upset victory over former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka.
Three-times champion Serena Williams, who has said she wants to get more matches in before seeking a record-equalling 24th career grand slam title at the US Open, kicks off the evening session against Belgian Elise Mertens.
Barty’s 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-4 second round loss to American Sofia Kenin (pictured) left the door open for the Japanese star