Ashleigh Barty
Ashleigh Barty Image Credit: AFP

Sydney: Young tennis star Ashleigh Barty lost her world No. 1 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, 6-3, 6-4 at the Canadian Open in Toronto meant the door was open for Osaka to regain her No. 1 status.

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.

Serena Williams looked solid in her first match since losing the Wimbledon final, defeating 20th-ranked Elise Mertens of Belgium 6-3, 6-3 at the WTA Toronto tournament.

The 37-year-old American, one crown shy of a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title, advanced in 75 minutes at her first US Open hard court tune-up event.

“I feel like my movement is great — been working on my fitness, so I felt like it really was able to shine through today,” Williams said.

“I’m loving going out there and I’m loving kind of running. So it’s a good thing.”