FIRST FINAL: Ashleigh Barty has the chance to make the world top 100 rankings in the final of the Malaysia Open tournament in Kuala Lumpur.
FIRST FINAL: Ashleigh Barty has the chance to make the world top 100 rankings in the final of the Malaysia Open tournament in Kuala Lumpur. AHMAD YUSNI

Ashleigh makes first singles final

TENNIS: Ashleigh Barty has celebrated her return to tennis from cricket by reaching the final of the Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur.

Barty, a qualifier for the tournament, easily beat China's Xinyun Han 6-3 7-5 to reach her first tour singles final.

The 20-year-old from Ipswich, who was ranked 158 in the world before the tournament, will play world No.106 Japan's Nao Hibino in the final.

Barty played for the Brisbane Heat's women's team in the 2015-16 Big Bash.

She beat Hibino 7-5 6-4 in their only previous encounter during qualifying for the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, in 2013.

If Barty wins her first singles title her ranking could jump into the top 100 and get direct entry into the French Open at Roland Garros in May.

Barty, who dropped one set on the way to the final, served seven aces against Xinyun.

"My service game and forehand worked well," Barty said.

News Corp Australia


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