How did Ashleigh Barty react to becoming the 27th woman, and the just second from Australia, to reach No. 1 since the advent of the WTA computer rankings in 1975? About the way you would expect.

Asked about her achievement after she won the title in Birmingham on Sunday, Barty mumbled something about how happy she was to get through a tough match, and then turned and devoted the rest of her answer to praising the woman she had just beaten (and who happened to be her doubles partner this week), Julia Goerges.

“I couldn’t think of a better person to share the court with,” Barty said to the German. “We had an incredible week in singles and doubles. You’re one of my best friends on tour, and you’ve been there for me since I was a little tacker running around, annoying everyone.”

The little tacker—whatever that may be—is kind of a big deal now. Between Roland Garros and Birmingham, where she didn’t drop a set, Barty has won 12 straight matches. We’ve had surprise WTA No. 1s in recent years, including the woman who preceded Barty there, Naomi Osaka. But no one has made getting there look quite as smooth and straightforward an affair as Barty. A month ago, she was one of many long shots for the French Open title, and one of many promising players who seemed to be slowly working toward a first major title. Now you watch her play and you wonder who in the world is is going to stop her. Barty won the Wimbledon girls’ title in 2011; there’s no reason why she can’t win the Ladies’ event three weeks from now.

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Weekend winners: As Barty’s aura grows, Federer’s remains undiminished

Weekend winners: As Barty’s aura grows, Federer’s remains undiminished

Of course, just because Barty, now 23, has made it look easy doesn’t mean it has been easy. That Wimbledon junior win was eight years ago, and in the intervening years she famously quit tennis to try cricket before quitting cricket to try tennis again. (Someday, if she continues to pile up titles, that decision may go down as one of the great what-ifs of women’s sports: What would the WTA have looked like in the 2020s if Barty had never come back to tennis?)

Since her return in 2016, Barty has developed one of the most effortlessly effective playing styles on either tour, without being a show-off about it. Like the Aussie tennis legends of old, Barty is practical but not one-dimensional, textbook but not workmanlike, equally at home on a singles or doubles court. She has every shot in the game—flat serve, kick serve, drive backhand, slice backhand, solid volleys and deft drop shots—but she never does more than what’s needed to win a point. That Barty’s game has taken her as far as it has, this quickly, seems to have caught her by surprise as well. Naturally, this team player gave her coaches the lion’s share of the credit.

“You always dream of No. 1 as a little kid, but to become a reality is incredible,” said the Queenslander. “It’s not something that was even in my realm this year; we were aiming to be Top 10 and now to be where we are is a testament to the people around me these last three years. We started from scratch, without a ranking, and to be where we are is a massive achievement for me and them.”

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Until now, the only thing Barty seemed to lack was the intimidation factor. On a tour rife with 6-footers, she’s just 5’5,” and she walks with a born athlete’s nonchalance rather than the self-conscious strut of a born champion. But big-time results eventually intimidate opponents, and Barty’s French Open title seemed to help her in that regard on Sunday. Goerges went up an early break in the second set, and twice led 30-0 on her serve only to be broken. Many of her most crucial errors defied explanation—until you remembered that it’s always a little harder, even if you have a lead in a set, to make yourself believe that you can close out a major champ. Barty, deservedly, is building an aura.

“I just had to go for it,” Barty said, “...I had to push that little bit extra to get on top of rallies. It was an incredibly high quality match, and a day to remember.”

A few weeks ago, No. 1 wasn’t in Barty’s realm. Now the realm of women’s tennis is hers.

Weekend winners: As Barty’s aura grows, Federer’s remains undiminished

Weekend winners: As Barty’s aura grows, Federer’s remains undiminished

Speaking of No. 1 player auras, Roger Federer knows all about them, and he gave a pretty succinct explanation of what they can mean to a player after his 7-6 (2), 6-1 win over David Goffin in Halle on Sunday.

“He was probably the better player for the first 10 games of the match,” Federer said of the Belgian. “He had more chances. He had big chances, too. Then I played a really good tiebreak.”

Goffin’s biggest chance came at 2-2 in the first set, when he went up 0-40 on Federer’s serve, and narrowly missed a ground stroke to break. Federer, meanwhile, had no break points on Goffin’s serve through the first 12 games, but once the tiebreaker began, he immediately improved his return, came up with his best shot of the set, a half-volley winner, to go up 4-1, and ran out the tiebreaker 7-2. Goffin never recovered; after double faulting to go down a break in the second set, the normally mild-mannered La Goff chucked his racquet to the sideline in disgust.

“I was able to tough it out, and at the end I was able to really play some great tennis,” Federer said after winning his 10th title in Halle, and the 102nd of his career. “I couldn’t be happier right now.”

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It’s true, there doesn’t seem to be any reason for Federer to be less than satisfied with his preparation for Wimbledon. The last time he won in Halle, in 2017, he went on to win his 19th major title at the All England Club. He also seems to have recovered physically from his semifinal run at Roland Garros. He’ll go to London as the second favorite, behind Novak Djokovic, but right now it could be argued that Federer will arrive there with more momentum.

At 37, though, any doubts about his chances for a ninth Wimbledon title are equally legitimate. He won in Halle in 2013, 2014, and 2015, but didn’t follow with a win at the Big W. And Federer has yet to beat Djokovic since his mid-30s resurgence began in 2017. Federer also dropped sets in Halle to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Roberto Bautista Agut, before, as he said, “toughing out” the victories.

All in all, Federer got what he needed from Halle. He moved well, served well, competed well, and returned well when he needed to return well. As Barty’s aura grows, Federer’s remains undiminished.

Weekend winners: As Barty’s aura grows, Federer’s remains undiminished

Weekend winners: As Barty’s aura grows, Federer’s remains undiminished