Sydney, Aug 8: Young tennis ace Ash Barty has lost her world number one ranking on Thursday, handing back the top spot to Japan's Naomi Osaka.
While the 23-year-old Aussie has been a consistent performer over the past year, culminating in her maiden Grand Slam title at the French Open back in June, a fourth round exit at Wimbledon and a shock second round loss to American Sofia Kenin 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-4 at the Canadian Open in Toronto on Tuesday meant the door was open for Osaka to regain her number one status.
"At times I was missing by big margins, which is not something that I'm very used to or comfortable with," Barty told reporters after the match.
"But it's not panic stations. It's my first match on hard court in a long time."
Still happy with the fight she showed during the match, Barty said "I have no idea how I was able to get out of that first set and probably should have been bageled in the second and done pretty quickly in the third, as well."
"So I think, all in all, I was able to find a way to hang in there and make it tricky, but the polish wasn't there and Sofia was the better player in big moments today," she added.
Taking on Tatjana Maria in Toronto on Thursday, Osaka won the first set of the tournament's round of 32 match 6-2, before her German opponent retired from the contest with an injury.
But the two-time Grand Slam Champion's position at the top of the heap could be short-lived with Czech hitter Karolina Pliskova breathing down the necks of both Osaka and Barty.
A strong run in the tournament could see the 27-year-old leap-frog the pair and pick up the number one ranking for the second time in her career. (UNI-Xinhua)