By Ros Satar at the Nature Valley Classic, Birmingham
- Ashleigh Barty  def. Venus Williams [WC] 6-4 6-3
- Barty now on a 10-match winning streak as she gets closer to the No. 1 spot
BIRMINGHAM, UK – Ashleigh Barty went one step closer to claiming the No. 1 ranking with her 10th match win on the spin, beating wild-card Venus Williams.
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Ashleigh Barty  def. Venus Williams [WC] 6-4 6-3
In fact, it was Williams that got the quicker start, jumping out to a 4-1 lead. However, Barty started to click into a gear, breaking back twice before snatching the first set on her third set point.
From there, as the errors mounted up from Williams, Barty seemed to gain more confidence, breaking early and then delivering the final blow, breaking for the match.
Barty continues to take things one match at a time, not allowing herself to think about either taking the title, or the No. 1 that will come it. However with the early demise of World No. 1 Naomi Osaka, Barty lifting the title will secure the top spot, and indeed the No. 1 seeding for Wimbledon.
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Turning down Andy Murray was the hardest decision to make
With an understanding smile, Barty admitted she had been taken by surprise when Andy Murray had texted her before Roland Garros to ask if she fancied taking Mixed Doubles at Wimbledon.
She explained: “When Andy texted me and asked me to play I was a little bit shocked to be honest and I think obviously I would have loved to grab the opportunity to play with Andy and I think it was hardest decision I’ve ever had to make as to whether i play an event or not.
“I took some time to think about it, and yeah playing three events is just a little bit too much. I’d already made a commitment to play with [Victoria Azarenka] so I think it was the hardest decision for me to say no when a champion asks you to play. At any stage I was flattered and very honoured, but I said to him ‘I think there are some pretty good options out there for you’ but yeah we were chatting about it prior to the French [Open] starting. I’m sure he will find someone (smiling).”
Barty will play fellow Birmingham finalist Barbora Strycova in the semi-final on Saturday.
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