In the first 5 days of the Australian Open 2021, it became clear that this Grand Slam is different. From many WTA seeds already cleared out, the tournament was moving towards an unforeseen end.
And to find their place ahead in the game, Karolina Pliskova and Karolina Muchova battled to qualify for the 4th-round. As an outcome of the All-Czech clash, Muchova defeated Pliskova 7-5, 7-5.
The 6th seed of the tournament, Pliskova won the last two games in straight sets. Not much different from her, the 25th seed, Muchova also reached the third round without having lost a set. However, this time around, it was not easy to get the same result.
Between the two, the 24-year-old Muchova showed more desire to go to the next round. Breaking her opponent’s serve once more, she found herself in the lead yet again.
Pliskova had a chance to drag the set to a tiebreaker, but she buttered that chance away. Recovering two breakpoints, the current World No. 27 won the first set 7-5.
The 2019 Australian Open semifinalist was not going to be another straight-set victim for Muchova. So, tieing up the loose ends of the first set, Pliskova made a staggering return in the game. She won 5 consecutive games and was 4 points away from settling the score even.
However, it did not take long enough for the winds to change the direction. Jumping back into the game, Muchova served to save the set and found her lost rhythm. Clearly, she did not want the match to go to three sets.
It all came down to the eleventh and twelfth game of the second set. Surprisingly, Pliskova gave away 2 set points and a 5 game lead under the heat in Rod Laver Arena.
Fighting the conditions and the passion of the 24-year-old Muchova was exacting a heavy toll on the 2016 US Open finalist. Unable to find her way into the game, Pliskova lost the battle in straight sets after all.
Muchova, who made it into the last 16 for the first time, will meet the winner of the match between Belinda Bencic and Elise Mertens. Hold on to your hat as the Happy Slam is going to be more titillating in the coming days.
Who do you think will lift the Australian Open 2021 title?