Bally is the first Scottish woman ever to break into the top 50 of the rankings (which began in 1975) and is the highest ranked Scottish woman since rankings began.
She reached the second round at the US Open in New York earlier this month and in a season that just seems to get better and better for the 27-year-old British number 1, her reward has been a climb to number 49 in the world.
This year Bally qualified automatically for the main draw of the US Open for the first time. In the first round she was drawn against Croatian Petra Martic, dominating the match and winning with a 6-2 6-2 scoreline in a little over an hour.
In the second round she faced 27th seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, who reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon earlier in the year. In a tight first set that lasted 57 minutes, Bally took her opponent to a tie-breaker where she was narrowly edged out 7-5 in fiercely hot conditions. From there the match slipped away from her as she went out 7-6 (7-5) 6-3, but the tight score-line and the manner of her performance against Kvitova, currently ranked 34 in the world, provides further evidence that Bally is more than capable of competing with this calibre of player and consolidating her place in the world’s top 50.
Bally was understandably delighted with her achievement and said “It’s unbelievable. It really does feel so special. At the beginning of the year my goal was to stay in the top 100, I wasn’t even thinking about the top 50 and here we are nine months on and I’ve broken top 50. I spent about ten years trying to make the top 100 and didn’t get anywhere near it, so to do this at the age of 27 feels great.
“Now that I’m top 50, you start setting your goals a lot higher. Obviously I want to take it with baby steps and I don’t want to get too carried away but I really think that I belong in the top 50 and I want to stay there. I really believe that I can still get better and I don’t think that I’ve topped out yet.”
Bally has enjoyed her best ever season in 2010. Her previous career high singles ranking of 52 (achieved in June this year) was reward for a stunning run of form which saw her reach quarter-finals in Memphis and Istanbul, win ITF titles in Michigan and Nottingham and produce the best performance of her career to defeat Ukrainian Kateryna Bondarenko on her way to the third round of the Australian Open. In recognition of her achievements, Bally was jointly awarded the Clydesdale Bank Athlete of the Month Award for July along with swimmer David Carry.
Tennis is making its Commonwealth Games debut in Delhi and Bally will be one of the seeds in women’s singles when the draw is announced. She will be joined in Delhi by fellow Scots Mhairi Brown, Colin Fleming, Jamie Murray and Jocelyn Rae.
Along with coach Euan McGinn, Team Scotland Tennis Team Leader Pete Nicolson has been finalising preparations with each of the players over the last week. “Bally was in great shape at her Ipswich training base last week and has prioritized competing for Scotland in the Commonwealth Games above the prestigious China Open WTA tournament – so she is definitely not going to the Games to make up the numbers – and Jocelyn, Mhairi, Colin and Jamie are equally motivated.
We know that India, Australia and England are sending good tennis squads, and our Games prospects will become clearer when we see the full entry lists in Delhi later this month, but we have strong hopes in at least three of the five tennis events.”
The tennis competition at the Commonwealth Games will be played from 4-10 October at the R.K. Khanna Tennis Stadium in Delhi and reports and results will be available on the Commonwealth Games Scotland website.