Australia's Ash Barty could be the new world number one this week.
Australia's Ash Barty could be the new world number one this week. Franca Tigani

Ash Barty can be a world number one this week

TENNIS: Ash Barty's rise to the summit of the women's singles ranking could be completed as early as this week if everything goes her way.

Australia's latest grand slam singles champion, after claiming the French Open title two weeks ago, could become the world number one if she can have a good week this week in Birmingham.

Barty will play her first tournament since the French Open triumph by starting her grass season in England.

And if she makes the final or wins the tournament it could be enough to become the first Australian world number one in women's singles since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1976.

Barty is currently 252 points behind Naomi Osaka at the start of this week, who has been the world number one since January this year.

Osaka is the number one seed for the tournament and starts her campaign against Maria Sakkari.

If Osaka makes the final then she will retain her number one ranking and be the number one seed for the Wimbledon championships, starting at the end of the month.

But if Osaka makes the semis or gets eliminated earlier, Barty can get both the number one ranking and seed for herself.

She needs to make the final or win the tournament herself to do it.

Barty starts her campaign against Donna Vekic and could face seeded players Qiang Wang, Karolina Pliskova or Aryna Sabalenka along the way.

Former world number one Venus Williams is also in her side of the draw.

But Barty's form on grass in the past 12 months should put her in good stead, alongside her recent form in the WTA.

Barty won in Nottingham, her second WTA title, last year before putting in her best ever performance at Wimbledon so far with a third round appearance.

Now she could be heading to the All England Club with the number one ranking as well.