Despite losing to Naomi Osaka in the China Open final, world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty maintains that she is satisfied with how she performed during the match. She described the round as being “high-quality,” crediting Osaka’s ball-striking abilities as being superior. She, however, maintains that she did some things right and it was with the execution that she really suffered.

The match, which seemed to be going Barty’s way at first, ended with the scores 3-6 6-3 6-2. Osaka made a huge comeback in the second set, where she began to do more bombastic returns. This drove a deciding third set, where the 2019 Beijing Open runner-up committed 19 unforced errors.  Osaka’s China Open win gave her a third championship title in the calendar year alone.

Barty still ranked No. 1, Osaka No. 3

As the tennis season’s last few months starts drawing to a close, Barty is holding tight in the top position in the year-end rankings. She has been sitting comfortably in the top spot since June when she became the first Australian woman since 1976 to reach the peak.

Right now, the Australian’s biggest challenger for the year-end No. 1 ranking is Czech star Karolina Pliskova. In fact, only a little more than 1000 points separate the two, which would have been less if Pliskova went beyond the first round in Beijing.

The world no. 2 may have to slay the competition in the WTA Finals in Shenzhen if she wants her dreams to reach the year-end no. 1 is to stay alive. For Pliskova to leapfrog her, a poor performance from Barty also has to happen.

Osaka, who is returning to the top three off her great performance in the Asian Swing, is also in contention for the year-end no. 1 ranking. But she may have to win a few more titles in the next few weeks for her to catch up to both Barty and Pliskova.

Possible Australian Open top seed and champion?

In other related news, it is looking like Barty will become the top seed for the Australian Open scheduled in January. With the world no. 1’s stellar performance this year, a lot of pressure will be put on her to do well as the tournament will be in her home country.

So far, most of the Australian tennis legends and stars predict that world No. 1 will have a huge chance to win at Melbourne Park. Doubles partner Casey Dellacqua thinks that Barty’s experience in the French Open will be vital to the latter’s Australian Open strategy. Former Davis Cup champ John Fitzgerald also hopes that Ashleigh would reach even just the second week of the tournament.

Ashleigh Barty’s ranking and performance in 2019

Ashleigh Barty Stats info

At the moment ranked no.1, the Australian played her last match on the 6th of October when she lost to Naomi Osaka 3-6 6-3 6-2 in the final in Beijing.

This year Barty has a 48-11 win-loss record. Ashleigh has won 3 titles in 2019 in Miami, at the French Open and in Birmingham. Ashleigh was the finalist in Sydney and in Beijing.

Naomi Osaka’s ranking and performance in 2019

Naomi Osaka Stats info

Ranked no.3, Osaka played her last match on the 6th of October when she defeated Ashleigh Barty 3-6 6-3 6-2 in the final in Beijing to win her 4th career title.

This year Osaka has a 39-11 win-loss record. Naomi has won 3 titles in 2019 at the Australian Open, in Osaka and in Beijing.

Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka played each other 4 times. The head to head is 2-2.

The last time that they played, Naomi Osaka won 3-6 6-3 6-2 in the final in Beijing in 06th October 2019.

Here the highlights.

Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka

Embed from Getty Images

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