World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty crashed out of the Australian Open on Wednesday against 25th seed Karolina Muchova. The loss ended Barty’s campaign to become the first Australian to win the tournament on home soil since 1978 when Chris O’Neil did it.
The top-ranked player fell in three sets, 6-1, 3-6, 2-6 in a match that had a certain level of controversy surrounding it with regards to Muchova’s use of a medical timeout. After dropping the first set to her opponent — and subsequently going down 2-1 in the second set — the Czech Republic native asked for a physio to come to the court and exam her head and neck area.
The medical timeout took nine minutes as she was examined in the locker room, and when she returned, she looked to be a completely different player.
Muchova would go on to win six of the next seven games to force a decisive third set and then continued her domination with her new form in the third. Barty made a total of 31 unforced errors between the final two sets and lost the first set of her tournament run thus far as a result of Muchova’s locker room comeback. When asked about the MTO after the game she said it was because her head was spinning.
Karolina Muchova on MTO: “I was a bit lost [gestures to head] on the court and my head was spinning so I took a break.”
“It was more they just checked my pressure because I was a bit lost. I was spinning. So they cooled me down a bit with ice and it helped me.”
— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) February 17, 2021
Muchova will take on the winner between Jennifer Brady and Jessica Pegula.