The 24-year-old Czech mounted an amazing comeback to win 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena to reach her first career grand slam semifinal.
After her victory, the No. 25 seed said she was fulfilling a childhood dream with her run at the Australian Open.
“I put it as a wallpaper Rod Laver, the stadium. I was just, like, I hope one day it would be nice to play there or to look at the arena or whatever. Now I just won a match and make it to semifinals. It’s amazing.”
On home turf, it was Barty who perhaps unsurprisingly came out of the blocks fastest, racing into 5-0 lead in just 16 minutes, winning 20 of the first 26 points.
Muchova did at least win a game in that opening set, though she couldn’t find a way to stop the resilient Barty winning the first set.
After Barty extended her lead to 2-0 in the second set, it looked like fans — they will allowed to watch matches from Thursday at the tournament after a Covid-19 “circuit-breaker” five-day lockdown imposed by the Victoria state government comes to an end — would be able to watch their fellow Australian in the semifinal.
However, a near-10-minute medical timeout for Muchova seemed to galvanize the Czech.
“They just checked my (blood) pressure because I was a bit lost, you know? I was spinning. So they cooled me down a bit with ice, and it helped me.
“(When I returned I) just tried to put a ball in and go for it. Played a bit faster, going to the net. I think that was the key by the end.”
After the break, Barty struggled to regain her rhythm and Muchova took advantage, winning 12 of the final 15 games.
In her post-match press conference, the Australian admitted that she was “frustrated” she allowed the medical break to upset her momentum, but stressed that she wasn’t frustrated with the rules which allowed her opponent to take the break.
“It’s not my place to comment here whether she had an injury or not. That’s the physios and the doctors.
“Obviously that she’s taken her medical timeout meant that there was something wrong. She was within the rules, within the guidelines to take that time.”
She was down 5-0 in the second set against No. 6 seed Karolina Pliskova and was down 4-0 in the first set to No. 18 seed Elise Mertens.
“I felt like I was in control of the match. I knew how I wanted to go about it, just lost my way a bit.”
Muchova will now face US Open semifinalist Jennifer Brady on Thursday, with the winner set to make their maiden major final.
Going under the knife
“I went to the tournament physician office on Monday, February 15th with acute abdominal pain,” she explained. “I was evaluated by the tournament physician and referred to the hospital for further evaluation. Acute appendicitis was diagnosed following the completion of my CT scan. I had to have surgery and had my appendix removed on Monday, February 15, at Epworth Hospital Richmond. The surgery went well and without any complication. I am now trying to recover from the surgery and deal with the pain.
“Unfortunately I won’t be able to play a few weeks because I need to take time off to recover so I have withdrawn from my next tournaments. I want to thank everyone at Epworth Hospital Richmond for taking good care of me! Also I would like to thank the medical staff at AO for helping me!
“I can’t wait to fully recover and compete again and see you guys.”