Australian Open 2021: After being inspired, Czech Karolina Muchova keen to crash Ash Barty’s party

She was impressed by some heartfelt encouragement from Ash Barty three years in the past however now Karolina Muchova threatens to break the world No.1’s coronary heart on the Australian Open tomorrow.

Muchova has lower a swathe by way of the highest half of the draw, taking out former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, ex-world No.1 Karolina Pliskova and fellow seed Elise Mertens, all in straight units, to emerge as Barty’s shock quarter-final opponent.

A shock to many, that’s, however not to Barty.

Australia’s prime seed vividly remembers enjoying Muchova – and being tremendous impressed – after ending the Czech’s daring run from qualifying within the third spherical of the 2018 US Open.

Barty noticed a chunk of herself in Muchova that evening, the silky backhand slice and court docket craft pushing the then-world No.17 in a good 6-3 6-4 loss at Flushing Meadows.

“I keep in mind coming off the court docket and saying to ‘Tyz’ (coach Craig Tyzzer) ‘Karolina, she will play, she’s a hell of a participant.’ At the moment she was I believe exterior, perhaps even 200 on this planet,” Barty mentioned.

“It was an ideal match, a superb match. We moved courts, we had been enjoying in any respect hours of the evening. A type of humorous experiences the place you look again on it now and simply realise how particular it was.”

Ash Barty is on a roll at the Australian Open.
Digicam IconAsh Barty is on a roll on the Australian Open. Credit score: Andy Brownbill/AP

And the way particular Muchova was, as since confirmed by the now-world No.27’s cost to the Wimbledon quarter-finals 10 months later.

“She’s obtained the flexibility to manoeuvre the ball throughout the court docket, play with selection, play with form,” Barty mentioned.

“Now we get one other alternative to do it in a quarter-final of a grand slam.”

Muchova additionally has fond reminiscences of that midnight assembly with Barty in New York.

“It was a pleasant sport. We play a bit related, I’d say. I keep in mind that after match she really advised me to maintain working, that I could make it to the highest. In order that was good,” the 24-year-old mentioned.

Like Muchova, Barty is but to drop a set at this yr’s Open.

That’s some feat given she hadn’t performed in nearly a yr till this month.

Unbeaten in eight matches since her return, Barty is the primary dwelling hope in 37 years to make the quarter-finals three years operating.

Contemplating former world No.1s Lleyton Hewitt and Pat Rafter and long-time Aussie flagbearer Samantha Stosur might solely handle two quarter-final showings between them from 48 makes an attempt solely enhances Barty’s efforts in carrying the expectations of a nation following her prolonged layoff.

“The break itself just isn’t an issue for me. It’s not a priority,” the 24-year-old mentioned.

“I do know if I do all the correct issues in preparation earlier than beginning once more, that’s what I purpose to get proper.

“That’s what I do with my group. We attempt to dot all of our Is and cross our Ts, do all the correct issues to get to some extent the place we all know that we’re snug going out on the court docket and attempt to execute.”

If she executes on Wednesday, Barty will return on Thursday to face the winner of the all-American quarter-final between her Open doubles companion Jennifer Brady and unseeded Jessica Pegula.