Stephens downs Barty in third round
Despite being beaten in the third round of the US Open, Ash Barty sees plenty of positives as she hits a new career-high ranking.
Ashleigh Barty is hunting an Australian Open seeding and a coveted spot in the season-ending doubles championships after bowing out of the US Open singles in New York.
Aiming to reach the second week of a grand slam for the first time, Barty succumbed 6-2 6-4 in her third-round clash with unseeded American Sloane Stephens.
“Sloane played a really good match and sort of took control and took me out of it a little bit,” Barty said.
“But I had a lot of opportunities and I couldn’t quite consolidate on a few, especially early.
“She definitely deserved to win more than I did. A former top-15 player, she’s obviously riding a very big wave of confidence at the moment so it was always going to be tough.”
Barty’s run to the third round has guaranteed the 21-year-old a fresh career-high ranking.
She is projected to climb to 36th in the world, leaving the former Wimbledon junior champion on track for a top-32 seeding for her home major at Melbourne Park in January.
“That’s the ideal,” Barty said.
“I’ve got two tournaments in Asia that we’ll target and hopefully play well at and Case (Casey Dellacqua) and I are very close to the doubles champs so hopefully we can consolidate that, maybe this week.
“But if not, we’ll keep working, keep striving and it’s just exciting to be able to start where we are with the Australian summer.”
Barty and Dellacqua, who beat Russians Natela Dzalamidze and Veronika Kudermetova in their opener, are sixth in the Race to Singapore, with only the top eight doubles teams qualifying for the WTA Championships in November.
“I’ve had a really good month of tennis in both singles and doubles and have obviously still got a job to do with Case and we’ll switch focus to that now,” Barty said.
Barty’s exit leaves John Millman as the last Australian singles hope at Flushing Meadows. Millman plays German Philipp Kohlschreiber on Sunday morning for a spot in the fourth round.