No. 1 Barty upset by Muchova in Aussie quarters
MELBOURNE, Australia — Top-ranked Ash Barty built a big lead in her quarterfinal match at the Australian Open before her opponent took an injury timeout and left the court.
More than an hour later, it was Barty heading abruptly out the exit. She was upset Wednesday by Karolina Muchova, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Seeded No. 25, Muchova earned her first semifinal berth in a Grand Slam. Her comeback win ended Barty’s bid to become the first Australian woman to win the title in Melbourne since Chris O’Neil in 1978.
Muchova’s opponent Thursday will be the winner of the last quarterfinal, an all-American matchup between No. 22-seeded Jennifer Brady and unseeded Jessica Pegula.
Muchova played poorly at the start of her second major quarterfinal, and Barty raced to a 5-0 lead while losing only six points. After nine games, Muchova had one winner and 18 unforced errors, and early in the second set, she took an injury timeout that lasted nearly 10 minutes.
“I started feeling a bit lost,” Muchova said. “Ash started very good. She played almost like no mistakes; it was very tough. I was a bit lost on the court and my head was spinning, so I took a break. And it helped me.”
Medical personnel took her temperature, checked her blood pressure and gave her ice before she left the court. When the Czech returned, she played much better.
“I tried to play a bit faster rallies so we don’t play long ones as in the first set,” Muchova said, “and it worked well.”
Comebacks have been a staple in the tournament for Muchova, who rallied in earlier matches to win sets after trailing 5-0 and 4-0.
Against Barty, she began moving into the court to hit her groundstrokes earlier. Barty, pushed behind the baseline, became indecisive and erratic.
During one stretch Muchova won eight of nine games. Barty finished with 37 unforced errors and lost serve four times in the final two sets.
Muchova’s only other victory over a top-five was against No. 3 Karolina Pliskova at Wimbledon in 2019.
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