25th seed Czech Karolina Muchova produced a stunning comeback to upset World no.1 and home favorite Ashleigh Barty to storm into the Australian Open semi-finals.
The world no.27 looked on her way out after Barty raced through the opening set, but after a medical timeout Muchova returned a different player to win 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena as the Australian crumbled.
Her come-from-behind win ended top seed Barty’s hopes of becoming the first home winner at the Australian Open in 43 years after Chris O’Neil’s breakthrough in 1978.
Muchova will face American Jennifer Brady in the semi-finals.
“I started feeling a bit lost”: Karolina Muchova
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 a medical timeout that lasted nearly 10 minutes.
“I started feeling a bit lost,” Muchova said in the post-match interview. “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.”
When asked about her semi-finals strategy, she said: “I’m just gonna try to to recover you know as best as possible and I’m definitely looking looking forward to that match”