Barty in danger of losing No. 1 ranking after second-round exit at Rogers Cup

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TORONTO — Ashleigh Barty of Australia is in danger of losing her world No. 1 ranking after falling 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 to American Sofia Kenin in second-round play Tuesday at the Rogers Cup.

Barty wasn’t thinking about that during the match, though. And the reigning French Open champion certainly didn’t seem too concerned about it afterwards.

“I couldn’t tell you from a bar of soap what’s going on with the rankings,” Barty said, prompting laughter from reporters in her post-match press conference. “It’s not something that I worry about or focus on.

“I try and do the best that I can every single day, and that’s all it is.”

Current world No. 2 Naomi Osaka of Japan would overtake Barty for the top ranking by winning her first match on Wednesday. The 21-year-old opens her Rogers Cup against Germany’s Tatjana Maria.

Barty had points defend at the tournament after a semifinal appearance at the Rogers Cup in Montreal last year. Osaka, meanwhile, lost her first-round matchup at the 2018 event.

As the second seed in Toronto, Osaka earned a bye to the second round. Any points she gains at the tournament is a bonus.

“I don’t have much say for the rest of the week,” said Barty, who added she didn’t know who was in position to overtake her in the standings. “I came here and tried to do my best and, you know, it wasn’t enough today … Whoever it is, if they play well enough and, they haven’t given up points or whatever it is, they deserve to take the ranking.”

Barty had beaten the 29th-ranked Kenin three times this year. But the 20-year-old got the better of the Aussie on centre court at Aviva Centre to earn the fourth top-10 win of her career.

Kenin broke Barty six times over the match, which lasted one hour 58 minutes.

Tuesday was Barty’s first time in a live match since her fourth-round exit from Wimbledon four weeks ago. She admitted that rust may have played a factor.

“I think, all in all, I didn’t adjust well enough or quick enough or adapt to the conditions how I needed to,” she said. “I have no idea how I was able to get out of that first set and probably should have been bageled in the second and done pretty quickly in the third, as well.

“So I think I was able to find a way to hang in there and make it tricky, but the polish wasn’t there and Sofia was the better player in big moments today.”

Kenin will play either Dayana Yastremska, who upset No. 13 seed Johanna Konta on Monday, or former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, who rolled to a 6-2, 6-2 win over Camila Giorgi of Italy earlier Tuesday, in the third round.

Barty, who took a two-year hiatus from tennis in 2014, has enjoyed a breakout season that has included three singles titles. She’s 39-7 after Tuesday’s loss.

Barty is the defending Rogers Cup doubles champion with Demi Schuurs, but she will compete in the Toronto tournament with a new parter — Azarenka.

The pair open doubles action Wednesday against Julia Goerges and Karolina Pliskova.

“It’s been a nice doubles partnership that we’ve formed this year,” Barty said of pairing with Azarenka. “We’ve had some success, which has been really good. And it’s nice to see her as well starting to really find some of her best tennis on the singles court as well.”

Melissa Couto, The Canadian Press