Tuesday, 02 March, 2021

Karolina Muchova outlasts No. 1 Ash Barty to reach Australian Open semifinals

Karolina Muchova Shocks Ashleigh Barty Creates Path for a First Time Slam Finalist
By Ryan Schick Karolina Muchova Shocks Ashleigh Barty Creates Path for a First Time Slam Finalist By Ryan Schick
Adrian Cunningham | 17 February, 2021, 05:05

Dellacqua added: I think unfortunately we're going to be talking a lot more about the big break early on in that Barty was magnificent.

Australia's Ash Barty wipes the sweat from her face during her quarterfinal match against Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic. She remains the favourite to clinch her second major this weekend, which would make her the first Australian to lift the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup since Chris O'Neil in 1978.

Muchova will face the victor of Wednesday's second quarterfinal - an all-American affair between 22nd seed Jennifer Brady and world No. 61 Jess Pegula.

There was no sign of trouble for Barty early on as the top seed dropped just seven points while charging to a 5-0 lead in the first set.

"I started feeling a bit lost", Muchova said. Ash started very good. "It will be a brilliant match", Barty said, describing her opponent - also 24 years old - as a "hell of a player". "And it helped me".

Muchova called for the tournament doctor after holding serve to trail 2-1, then took her medical time-out after having her pulse and temperature checked. "I know she's got the ability to manoeuvre the ball all around the court, play with variety [and] play with shape".

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After the off-court treatment, Muchova bounced back to immediately to break Barty's serve following the time out and saved two break points to stay within touching distance in the middle stages of the second set before rallying to force the match into a deciding set.

Against Barty, she began moving into the court to hit her groundstrokes earlier.

Barty became increasingly frustrated throughout the second and third sets, as her opponent raised her game and barely gave her an inch after the first set.

During one stretch Muchova won eight of nine games.

The Czech was far more competitive and earned another break for 5-3 then took the set as a lost-looking Barty's error count mounted.

Karolina Muchova (right) is congratulated by top seed Ashleigh Barty after the Czech 25th seed's 1-6, 6-3.