PARIS (AP) — French Open champion Ash Barty’s first Grand Slam title allowed her to rise to a career-best No. 2 on Monday, almost three years to the day after she re-entered the WTA rankings following a hiatus from tennis while she played professional cricket.
Barty moved up six places and now trails only reigning U.S. Open and Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka.
“New ground for me. New experiences, new feelings. A goal of mine this year was to try and crack the top 10. And we were able to do that,” said Barty, a 23-year-old Australian who ended last season at No. 15. “And then it was chipping away, trying to get top five. It’s all happened pretty quickly over the last two weeks. But we’re trying to take it in our stride and obviously we’ll have a couple of quiet days now to relax, to enjoy, to celebrate. And then set new goals.”
She never had been past the fourth round at a major tournament until getting to the Australian Open quarterfinals in January. She beat 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-3 in Saturday’s final at Roland Garros.
Barty took about a 1½-year break from tennis after the 2014 U.S. Open, saying she needed time away from the pressures and rigors of life on the tour. She returned to competition in 2016, and on June 8 of that year, she moved back into the rankings at No. 623.
Look at her now, so close to No. 1.
“That’s kind of the next point, the next goal, the next situation I could see myself in,” Barty said about the idea of trying to overtake Osaka for the top spot. “But being No. 2 in the world’s incredible. It’s something I never dreamed of as a child and obviously we’ll keep chipping away and try our best to get to No. 1.”
Runner-up Vondrousova’s run to her first Grand Slam final helped her get from No. 38 to No. 16 on Monday. Semifinalist Amanda Anisimova, a 17-year-old American, also made quite a jump, going from No. 51 to No. 26.
The player Anisimova upset in the quarterfinals, defending champion Simona Halep, dropped from No. 3 to No. 8. She used to be ranked No. 1.
Another former top-ranked player and past French Open champion, Garbine Muguruza, fell six places to No. 25.
The top eight spots in the ATP rankings stayed the same, with French Open champion Rafael Nadal at No. 2, behind Novak Djokovic. Roger Federer is still at No. 3, and Roland Garros runner-up Dominic Thiem is No. 4.
This was the first time since the 2012 Australian Open that the top four men in the rankings all reached the semifinals at a tournament.
Karen Khachanov, a quarterfinalist in Paris, cracked the top 10 for the first time, rising two spots to No. 9, with Fabio Fognini at No. 10.
Top U.S. man John Isner, who missed the French Open with a foot injury, dropped out of the top 10 to No. 11.
Three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka’s run to his first Grand Slam quarterfinal in two years after knee surgery boosted him nine places to No. 19.
More AP Tennis: https://www.apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
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