Barty, who reached the pinnacle of the sport after winning Birmingham in June (which followed her maiden major at Roland Garros) has now won 13 straight matches, including six on grass.
After taking the first three games over Zheng, the 23-year-old Aussie experienced a brief mid-match setback, but was able to right the ship as she broke in the 10th game to win the opening set. She then sailed smoothly to the finish line.
One of the many refreshing qualities about the Aussie is her recognition that it takes a village to build a leader—she constantly credits her team for her sudden rise, using the pronoun “we” during her interviews.
“We work hand in hand to be able to achieve what we achieve, and I certainly wouldn’t be half the player I am if I didn’t have Tyzz [coach Craig Tyzzer] and all the people in my team around me,” Barty, 23, said in an interview. “It’s very much that we work hard in our different roles, in what we do, to try to make these dreams come true.”
Three players in the Wimbledon draw have the chance to supplant Barty at No. 1 at Wimbledon: Karolina Pliskova (will need to reach the semifinals to have an opportunity), Kiki Bertens and Petra Kvitova (have to win the title to have an opportunity).
Despite her grass-court prowess—including winning the girls’ singles title at Wimbledon in 2011, at 15, along with two grass-court titles in the pros—Barty has yet to get past the third round at the All England Club. Up next for the Aussie is Alison Van Uytvanck, who defeated two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.