No Ash Wednesday as Barty ousted in Australian Open quarterfinals

Katie Ramirez
February 17, 2021

Muchova, the 25th seed, made the most of Barty's uncharacteristic mistakes to win the next two sets and the match in yet another monumental upset at this year's Australian Open. Ash started very good. Brady skipped out to a 3-0 lead in the second as she eyed forcing a decider but relinquished her advantage and threw her racquet in frustration after losing a point.

"I felt the pressure from her. You're either winning or you're learning, and today is a massive learning curve for me".

"I was a bit lost on the court and my head was spinning so I took a break and it helped me", Muchova said.

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 would have loved to have done better and just been a little bit sharper the next game [after the medical timeout]".

She will next face either American Jennifer Brady, who staged a similar comeback to beat compatriot Jessica Pegula 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.

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After dropping the first set, Brady managed to pull it together in the second set, forcing Pegula to play from the baseline more after she dominated from the net in the first. "She's within her rights to take that time", Barty said.

Muchova had some treatment at her chair early in the second set and then took a lengthy medical timeout, returning to court revitalised and ready to take the match to the former French Open champion. That shouldn't be a massive turning point in the match.

"Without a doubt it's disappointing, but we learn and move on and don't let it ruin what has been a really successful and enjoyable start to the new season". Barty quickly left the court after the match, visibly disappointed with her loss in a tournament she had a serious chance to win.

Barty, 24, was bidding to become the first Australian singles player to reach the final in Melbourne since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005 and the first to win since Chris O'Neil in 1978. Muchova came out of the break and broke Barty the next game, who lost all four points on her racket with unforced errors. Barty finished with 37 unforced errors and lost serve four times in the final two sets. Barty is one of the fitter players on the WTA tour, so while maybe unlikely, it is hard to prepare for both the physical and mental challenges of a grand slam match.

Muchova's only other victory over a top-five was against No. 3 Karolina Pliskova at Wimbledon in 2019.

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