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Ash Barty on cusp of world No.1 tennis ranking

Ash Barty books her spot in the Birmingham Classic final. Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images for LTA

Ashleigh Barty is one win away from joining Australian tennis royalty after booking her spot in the Birmingham Classic final.

Barty, after beating Czech veteran Barbora Strycova in Saturday's semi-final, will become only the fifth Aussie world No.1 if she wins Sunday's decider against Petra Martic or Julia Goerges.

If she succeeds, the French Open champion will emulate the feats of Evonne Goolagong Cawley, John Newcombe, Pat Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt who are the only four Australians to have topped the tennis world since rankings were introduced in 1973.

Barty's 6-4 6-4 victory over the world No.50 was her 11th in succession and extended her 2019 record to 35-5 - the best of any player on the WTA tour.

"I served really well in the second set to keep in touch and knew I needed to take my chance when I got one," Barty said.

"On grass, she is very effective and it was important for me to get on top on my rallies and use my forehand as much as I could."

Barty will play doubles with Goerges later on Saturday and has the chance to replicate Maria Sharapova's 2004 achievement of winning the singles and doubles titles at Birmingham.

"We got close here in the 2017 final but it's nice to be in another final and, whatever happens, happens," she said.

Barty's last defeat came on May 16 against Kristina Mladenovic at the Italian Open in Rome.

Success in Birmingham would be her third tournament win in a magnificent three months after victory at Roland Garros and in March at Miami.

It continues her phenomenal turnaround since returning to tennis in 2016, with a ranking of 623, after an 18-month sabbatical and playing cricket in the WBBL with Brisbane Heat.

Should Barty lift the title, she will usurp Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka and become only the 27th woman in 49 years to hold the No.1 ranking and head to Wimbledon as the top-seeded player.