Barty looks to be in serious form. Image: Michael Klein
Barty looks to be in serious form. Image: Michael Klein

In-form Barty leading Aussie charge

ASH Barty can become the first Australian top 10 tennis player in six years with an extended run at this week's WTA Indian Wells tournament.

Barty moved one spot to No.11 on live rankings with her 6-3, 6-2 win over American wildcard Jennifer Brady in the third round.

A win over Ukrainian Elena Svitolina in the fourth round on Wednesday (Australian time) may be enough to lift the 22-year-old Queenslander's rankings points total for her to be in the top 10 at the end of Indian Wells.

Barty has 3395 ranking points, only nine fewer than Serena Williams, who bowed out of the tournament with a virus during the second set of her loss to Garbine Muguruza, who is up to 18th in the live list.

World No.9 Arnya Sabalenka, who will head up Belarus's Fed Cup campaign in Brisbane from April 20-21, was scheduled to play her third round match early Tuesday morning (Australian time) and will have at least 3565 points on the next official list.

The last Australian woman or man to have been in the top 10 was Sam Stosur, who left it for the last time in 2013 after having had three straight seasons in the year-end top 10.

To do so Barty will have to beat an opponent, Svitolina, she has lost to in all four career matches, including three straight-sets losses in 2017 and 2018.

Svitolina ousted Australian Daria Gavrilova 7-5, 6-4 to reach a fourth-round match against Barty, who donned a sleeve on her right arm on a cool night in California.

Elina Svitolina stands in Barty’s way. Image: Peter Wallis
Elina Svitolina stands in Barty’s way. Image: Peter Wallis

Barty has one more tournament on her favourite hardcourt circuit, at Miami, before she plays on clay for the first time this year in Charleston from March 30.

Barty surprised no one on Monday when she confirmed to Tennis Australia that she was committed to playing in the Pat Rafter Arena tie.

On the men's tour, Australians Nick Kyrgios (13th) and Bernard Tomic (17th) both reached career-best rankings in the teens so far since Lleyton Hewitt left the top 10 in 2006.