Ashleigh Barty has defeated Venus Williams and is on the brink of world nu, ber one. Picture: Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images for LTA
Ashleigh Barty has defeated Venus Williams and is on the brink of world nu, ber one. Picture: Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images for LTA

Relentless Barty closes in on exclusive club

Ashleigh Barty stands on the cusp of history after surging past Venus Williams, posting a 10th consecutive victory to reach the Nature Valley Classic semi-finals.

Barty's 6-3 6-4 success leaves the Queenslander just two victories - and four winning sets - from the world No 1 ranking.

Ash Barty lost only seven games against Venus Williams.
Ash Barty lost only seven games against Venus Williams.

Evonne Goolagong in 1976 is the last Australian woman to stand atop the world rankings.

If French Open champion Barty rolls Czech Barbora Strycova in the semi-finals, she will be two points behind current world No 1 Naomi Osaka.

Should Barty advance to the final and lift the title, she will become only the 27th woman in 49 years to hold the No 1 crown.

And she would be top seed at Wimbledon from July 1.

"I'm not there yet," Barty said after eliminating five-time Wimbledon champion Williams.

"I'll come back tomorrow and whatever happens, happens.

Barty next faces Barbora Strycova in the semifinals.
Barty next faces Barbora Strycova in the semifinals.

"Whatever will be, will be."

Barty is making a habit of drought-breaking success.

In March, she became the first Australian to win the Miami Open.

Two weeks ago, she became the first Australian woman to since Margaret Court in 1973 to win the French Open.

And with title success at Edgbaston, the Ipswich right-hander could become Australia's first world No 1 since Lleyton Hewitt in May 2003.

Goolagong succeeded Chris Evert on April 26, 1976 and held the mantle for two weeks before the American reclaimed it.

Thirty-nine year old Venus was no match for the rising Aussie star.
Thirty-nine year old Venus was no match for the rising Aussie star.

If Barty loses the Birmingham final, she will be just two points - 6377 to 6375 - behind Osaka, the narrowest margin separating No 1 and 2 in the history of computer rankings.

Two more wins would propel Barty to 6540 points, a lead of 163 over Osaka, who has held the ranking since winning the Australian Open on January 28.

Barty has not lost since falling to France's Kristina Mladenovic in Rome last month.

Just over three years ago, Barty returned to tennis from cricket, ranked No 632.