A WTA rankings technicality is all that is keeping Ash Barty’s status as the best player in the world together.
A disappointing quarter-final elimination at the hands of Karolina Muchova has brought the Aussie champion back to the pack — but dramatic changes to the rankings system, as a result of the 2020 WTA Tour being derailed by COVID-19, is the reason Barty is still more than 1000 rankings points clear of dual Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka.
Barty’s claim to the throne relies heavily on her red-hot second half of the 2019 season.
The 24-year-old chose not to travel outside of Australia in the middle of the global pandemic and only returned to the court during the lead-up events to this year’s Open, picking up tournament wins in Adelaide and the Melbourne Summer Series.
Lost in the dramatic fall-out to her defeat to Muchova — who was criticised for appearing to take a…