BIRMINGHAM, England — French Open champion Ashleigh Barty will play Julia Goerges for the Birmingham Classic title on Sunday, and clinch the world No. 1 spot if she wins.
Barty extended her winning streak to 11 games and secured her third final of the season with a 6-4, 6-4 win over two-time runner-up Barbora Strycova on Saturday.
Goerges defeated Croatia’s Petra Martic 6-4, 6-3 in the other semifinal.
Second-ranked Barty needs to win the grass-court tournament to overtake Naomi Osaka in the rankings on Monday. Osaka lost to Yulia Putintseva in the second round on Thursday and must wait to see if she’ll still be top heading into Wimbledon, which starts July 1.
Barty, who can become the first Australian female No. 1 in 43 years, says: “If I win, it’s a bonus. There are all things that come with it, but those things are certainly not what I’m worried about.”
NEW YORK — Top-seeded Wang Qiang advanced to the quarterfinals of the Bronx Open with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Fiona Ferro on Wednesday.
The Chinese player, who will be the No. 18 seed in next week’s U.S. Open, will next face Anna Blinkova, who had to wait out a third-set rain delay before outlasting Mihaela Buzarnescu 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 in a match that lasted 2 hours, 6 minutes.
No. 10 seed Karolina Muchova also reached the quarterfinals by beating Kristie Ahn 6-3, 6-1, moving on to play Magda Linette. Linette knocked off ninth-seeded Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-1, 6-4.
MADRID — Andy Murray will play in a second-tier Challenger Tour tournament hosted by Rafael Nadal’s tennis academy.
The tournament says Murray has accepted an invitation to play.
Murray, a three-time Grand Slam champion, had hip surgery in January. He returned to the court in June playing doubles – including at Wimbledon – before moving back to singles this month. The former No. 1 lost to Richard Gasquet in Cincinnati and to Tennys Sandgren in Winston-Salem, both in the first round.
Murray has not played on the Challenger Tour since 2005. His opener at the tournament in Mallorca, Spain, will be his 35th match in the lower division.
The tournament starts on Aug. 26.