MELBOURNE (AFP) – Karolina Muchova said she was living a dream yesterday after staging a stunning comeback to upset Ashleigh Barty and storm into the Australian Open semi-finals, rallying from a set down.
The Czech 25th seed 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.
She will face Jennifer Brady for a place in the final after she American beat Jessica Pegula in three sets.
“I think it’s a goal you’re setting up when you’re playing tennis. For me, at least, it’s the majors, the Grand Slams, to go far,” said Muchova, whose best previous Grand Slam result was the Wimbledon quarter-finals in 2019.
“For me to be in semi-finals, it’s like a dream and I’m really happy for that.”
The tide turned after the medical timeout, with Barty losing momentum.
Muchova, who is unbeaten this season, said she felt dizzy and needed a break.
“I think it was bit of the heat. Yeah, it got to me. I was feeling kind of dizzy, like really, really lost and almost fainting. So I just asked for help,” she said.
“Definitely they cooled me down with the ice. I was a bit in a shadow. Doctor checked my pressure, my temperature and everything.”
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 in 1978.
Barty, the 2019 French Open champion, had made a flying start to her year, winning the warm-up Yarra Valley Classic, and had not lost a set before meeting Muchova.
“Tough one today, without a doubt,” said the Australian. “I would have loved to have done a little bit better. Not my day today.”