Newly-crowned world number one Ashleigh Barty could never have imagined winning a Grand Slam title and rising to the summit of the rankings when she took a break from professional tennis in 2014 (AFP Photo-Paul ELLIS )

Ashleigh Barty became only the second Australian woman to top the world rankings when she won the Birmingham WTA title on Sunday, beating Julia Goerges 6-3, 7-5.

The 23-year-old French Open champion emulates Yvonne Goolagong-Cawley, who held it for a fortnight in 1976.

Barty displaces Japan’s Naomi Osaka as women’s world number one.

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