Barty bombs out of Australian Open
World number one Ash Barty has suffered a shock exit from the 2021 Australian Open, defeated by Czech Karolina Muchova in their quarter final match at Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday.
Barty breezed through the opening set against the number 25 seed to claim the first set 6-1, an early break of serve in the second set having the 24 year old on course for an easy victory before Muchova found a way back in to the contest after a tactical medical timeout, claiming the match in three sets 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Muchová won five of the next six games after the time out to claim the second set, before gaining an early service break in the third as Barty struggled to regain her focus.
The Australian was broken again in the seventh game of the third set, allowing the Czech 25th seed to serve out the match to book a berth in the semi-finals of a major for the first time in her career.
Muchová will face 22nd-seeded American Jennifer Brady in the last four after she defeated countrywoman Jessica Pegula 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 in their quarter-final.
Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams will contest the other semi-final in the women's draw.
Muchová acknowledged after the match that the medical timeout was the turning point of the match.
"I start to feeling a bit lost by the end of the first set, she played almost like [she was making] no mistakes," she said in her on-court interview.
"I tried to get back, played a bit faster rallies so we don't play the long ones as in the first set and it worked well."
The loss end's Barty's tournament, unable to qualify for her home Grand Slam final for the second straight year having entered the year as world number one.
The men's quarter finals commence on Wednesday evening, with Rafael Nadal meeting Stefanos Tsitsipas and Russian pair Andrey Rublev and Daniil Medvedev facing off for a spot in the final four.
IMAGE: The New Daily.