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Ash Barty explainer: Wimbledon 2019 draw, world rankings update, prize money bonanza

The Advertiser 2019-07-08 07:02:00

Ash Barty has been cheekily sneaking Disney lines in her press conferences at Wimbledon — and if she was to pick a soundtrack for her stunning new tennis reality it would have to be A Whole New World.

Barty’s incredible rise from outside the world’s top 600 players a few years ago to her lofty position atop the sport’s summit has captured the imagination of all Australians — from the Prime Minister down.

“The way she wins and represents us is just so terrific,” Scott Morrison tweeted on Sunday. “Proud as.”

But it’s only going to get better. Set to play America’s Alison Riske in the fourth round at tennis’s showpiece event on Monday night (8pm AEST), Barty’s star is set to soar higher than Aladdin’s magic carpet.

PRIZE MONEY BONANZA


Barty’s breakthrough French Open win netted her $3.7 million and rocketed her inside the top 50 biggest earners in tennis history with career prize money of $14.8 million.

Backing up at Wimbledon — which hands $4.2 million to its singles champs — would see her soar inside the top 30.

Sam Stosur, with more than $26 million in career earnings, is the only Australian woman ahead of Barty on the list, ranked 19th all-time. Lleyton Hewitt, at just shy of $30 million, is the only Aussie men’s player with more.

PATH FORWARD AT WIMBLEDON

The tennis gods have been smiling on the 23-year-old from Ipswich in Queensland after she initially appeared to have been handed a brutal Wimbledon draw.

Positioned in a section described by veteran New York Times tennis scribe Christopher Clarey as one of the “craziest, nastiest grand slam quarters in the open era”, Barty is still yet to face a seeded player.

After negotiating a tricky first-up match against world number 43 Saisai Zheng, Barty has enjoyed a dream run. Instead of facing two-time grand slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova in round two, she played Alison Van Utyvanck.

A predicted third round clash against another two-time major winner Garbine Muguruza also didn’t eventuate when she was knocked out early and Barty ended up facing British wildcard Harriet Dart.

The seeds in Barty’s path continued to fall before she reached them as looming fourth round opponent Belinda Bencic — seeded 13 — was knocked out by Riske.

It means Zheng remains the highest ranked opponent Barty will have faced before potentially meeting Serena Williams in the quarters.

That match-up would be the biggest women’s encounter featuring an Aussie on Wimbledon’s centre court in decades. And if Barty won? Close the voting for Australian of the Year.

WORLD RANKING PICTURE

Like her path to the quarters, Barty’s chances of hanging on to the world number one ranking have also benefited from the early exits of her main rivals.

World No. 2 Naomi Osaka — while no grass court favourite — was a shock loser in the first round, while No. 4 Kiki Bertens (third round) and No. 5 Angelique Kerber (second round) also fell fast.

It leaves Karolina Pliskova as the only player capable of stealing top spot from Barty at this tournament — but it remains unlikely.

Pliskova needs to win her fourth round match against Karolina Muchova to better her result from last year and begin growing her current points total of 6055.

Barty has already improved on her total of 6495 points because she only made it to the third round at the All England Club in 2018.

Both women have benefited from upsets on their sides of the draw. Sixth seed Petra Kvitova is the highest-ranked player remaining in Barty’s half, while seventh seed Simona Halep appears to be the biggest hurdle between Pliskova and the final appearance she needs to even have a chance of passing the Aussie.

Originally published as Ash Barty’s eye-watering cash bonanza