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Barty beats Venus to remain on course for No. 1 ranking

Nature Valley Classic - Day Five

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JUNE 21: Ashleigh Barty of Australia celebrates during her quarter-final match against Venus Williams of the USA during day five of the Nature Valley Classic at Edgbaston Priory Club on June 21, 2019 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images for LTA)

Getty Images for LTA

BIRMINGHAM, England -- French Open champion Ashleigh Barty remains on course for the No. 1 ranking after beating seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams 6-4, 6-3 at the Birmingham Classic on Friday.

Barty hit five aces in the 85-minute quarterfinal against former No. 1 Williams and stretched her winning run to 10 matches. The Australian, currently No. 2, needs to win the tournament to overtake Naomi Osaka at the top the rankings on Monday.

Osaka lost to Yulia Putintseva in the second round on Thursday and needs to wait to see if she’ll still be top heading into Wimbledon, which starts on July 1.

Barty next faces Barbora Strycova in the semifinals. Strycova won an all-Czech clash over qualifier Kristyna Pliskova 6-2, 6-4.

Also, Petra Martic saved five match points as she defeated Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-1. The Croatian will face Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan or Julia Goerges of Germany in the semifinals.