World No.1 Ash Barty’s drought-busting Australian Open singles title opens major ranking gap to chasing rivals
Freshly minted Australian Open champion Ash Barty has opened her biggest buffer atop the newest WTA rankings.
Barty (8331 total ranking points) holds a significant 2633-point lead over second-ranked Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka (5698) thanks to winning her third grand slam title on Saturday night.
The record is still owned by Serena Williams (13,161), who more than doubled her closest rival, Maria Sharapova (6490), after winning the 2015 Wimbledon title.
The American superstar held all four grand slam championships at that stage.
But Barty is asserting her dominance on the tour in her own way and is in her 106th-straight week as the world No.1, a streak that dates to September 9, 2019.
The 25-year-old will match 18-time singles champion Chris Evert in fourth place all time if she remains there for another seven consecutive weeks.
Another rankings milestone is only four weeks away, with Belgian great Justine Henin’s 117 weeks overall at the top of the women’s game – the seventh-most ever – within Barty’s reach.
The Australian benefited from the Covid-19 pandemic ranking freeze but has proven to be the WTA Tour’s clear best and most-consistent player, particularly in the past 12 months.
She’s won four of her past six events, including the Australian Open and Wimbledon championships, to move well clear of her rivals.
Barty faces little pressure to return to the tour quickly, given her next rankings-points drop is not until March when her 350 points from reaching the 2020 Doha semi-finals will fall off.
She is the only member of the top 10 not entered in this year’s Doha event, starting on February 20, and the suspicion is her return won’t be until Indian Wells on March 9.
Barty would then defend her Miami title and 1000 rankings points.
In other rankings moves, Ajla Tomljanovic climbed three spots to 40 and Astra Sharma moved up seven places to 90.
Maddison Inglis enjoyed an 18-position spike to No.115 after her third-round Australian Open run.
On the men’s side, Alex de Minaur jumped nine spots to 33 and James Duckworth set a new career-high ranking of 46, while Chris O’Connell rose 28 places to 147 after his third-round effort.
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