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Karolina Muchova, Jennifer Brady advance to 2021 Australian Open semis

Sep 7, 2020; Flushing Meadows, New York, USA; Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic serves the ball against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus on day eight of the 2020 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Down a set and a break to the world’s top-ranked player, Karolina Muchova rallied for the win of her life Wednesday.

The 25th-seeded Czech player upset top-seeded Ashleigh Barty of Australia 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the semifinals of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Muchova’s semifinal opponent will be No. 22 Jennifer Brady, who got past fellow American Jessica Pegula 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 in the last quarterfinal match.

The other semifinal on Thursday (Australia time) will see No. 10 Serena Williams of the United States oppose No. 3 Naomi Osaka of Japan.

Muchova, 24, got past the third round of a major only twice previously, when she reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in 2019 and the fourth round at last year’s U.S. Open. Brady, a 25-year-old Pennsylvania native who never reached the semifinals of a Grand Slam event before last summer, is through the final four of a second consecutive major. She reached the semis at the 2020 U.S. Open.

Barty jumped out to a 6-1, 2-0 lead before Muchova took a lengthy injury timeout. Momentum changed soon after play resumed, as Muchova broke serve for 2-2, then got another service break in the eighth game before closing out the set with a hold at love.

“I started to feel a bit lost by the end of the first set,” Muchova said post-match. “Ash started very good, making no mistakes, so it was very tough. My head was spinning, so I took a break. They checked my blood pressure and cooled me down a bit with ice.”

Barty said, “I think I just lost my way a little bit, which is disappointing without a doubt. 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.”

Brady produced a similar comeback, thanks in part to Pegula losing form on her serve. Pegula, the 26-year-old daughter of the owners of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres, held serve on just one of her seven service games over the final two sets.

“I think I felt really good out there physically,” Brady said. “I could maybe see on the other side of the net, maybe Jess was a little bit tired there. That definitely helped me mentally.

“It just gave me a little bit more confidence knowing that I’m doing pretty good, maybe she’s a little bit tired, now is my chance to really step up here and take advantage of that.”

Read More: Serena Williams underdog vs. Naomi Osaka in Aussie semis

–Field Level Media