Both quarter-finals on day 10 went three sets and it is now confirmed that we will have a new Slam finalist from the top half of the draw! I’m starting to struggle with pictures and have just one photo of Brady and Muchova combined. Trust me, it’s not intentional to never give Muchova the limelight of the feature photo! Read on for detailed thoughts of both quarter-finals in the day 10 notebook. Side note – I just saw Sofia Kenin’s tweet that she had acute appendicitis on Monday. Wishing Sofia a very speeedy recovery!
Day 🔟 Highlights
(25) Karolina Muchova d. (1) Ash Barty, 1-6 6-3 6-2
Almost every women’s Slam seems to bring a new face into the Slam semi-finals circle and this tournament it’s the turn of Karolina Muchova! This was a bizarre match of two halves, split down the middle with a Muchova medical time-out. Barty quickly went up a set and a break. Barty was untouchable on serve and Muchova was off the pace as she committed a lot of unforced errors in the first set (13 to Barty’s 6). Muchova had a medical time-out at 1-6 1-2 down which she said in her post-match interview was for not feeling well and dizziness. The momentum completely changed after the MTO as Muchova cut out some of the errors. Barty seemed to lose her focus as her unforced error count shot up in the second set (19 to Muchova’s 9)
The outcome of the match was largely decided on the first two games of the third set. Muchova played a PEAK return game to immediately break Barty with a trio of forehands (forehand drop shot winner, forehand cross court return winner and forehand passing shot winner). Muchova then saved two break points to consolidate the break. Barty just couldn’t get her game going and didn’t look at all threatening on return. I never felt like Barty was going to come back and Muchova was surprisingly comfortable in winning the third set.
Regular readers of the blog will know i’m high on Muchova and am thrilled to see her reach a first Slam semi-final! It’s the third match in a row where Muchova has pulled of some kind of comeback. In hindsight, I think I glossed over Barty’s lack of match play because she’s been so damn good since returning to the tour at the Yarra Valley Classic. This was only Barty’s second full three set match since her return and I wonder if the lack of match play caught up with her in the end.
(22) Jen Brady d. Jessica Pegula, 4-6 6-2 6-1
Jennifer Brady has now reached back-to-back hard court Slam semi-finals! Of the two Slam semi-final runs, this was the most challenging of Brady’s victories and her only three set win. Brady looked tense in the first set and was not serving particularly well. Pegula exposed the Brady backhand which was leaking errors. Pegula was the steadier of the pair and deserved to win that opener.
Brady’s fortunes began to flip in the first game of the second set as she saved two break points in her opening service game, one with a gorrrrgeous cross-court forehand winner. From 3-2 up in the second set, Brady won nine of the last ten games and the last six games in a row. Pegula seemed to run out of steam and became increasingly error-strewn. Brady played a rock-solid third set. The first serve percentage was still an issue at 48% in the decider. When she landed it in court, she won the point every time.
A great tournament from Pegula. She’s been knocking on the door for a while and posting consistent results on the tour so i’d be surprised if this quarter-final result is a one-off. This was a big win for Brady, managing to overcome a nervy start and a good friend which is never easy. A lot of Brady’s wins of late have been comprehensive straight setters so I think winning a three setter where she had to battle will likely have been a confidence boost.
Actual handshakes & hugs content! Nice moment between Brady and Pegula at the end of their quarter-final.
Funny moment 🤣
Brady’s reaction to Hsieh’s Instagram post about her 😂❤.
Favourite snap 📸
I ADORE this photo that Shelby shared on Instagram!
Day 11 watchlist 📺
Thoughts about Thursday’s semi-finals can be found here.
Naomi Osaka vs. Serena Williams
Jen Brady vs. Karolina Muchova
4 thoughts on “2021 Australian Open, Day 10 Highlights: Brady vs. Muchova for a first Slam final”
That Brady interview was so cute. Jennifer has such an adorable personality! She’s quickly becoming one of my favourites on the tour, and I would love to see her make the final!
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She’s great, I really like Brady too. I hope Brady-Muchova will be a good match. Wouldn’t surprise me if it gets nervy. I’m rooting for Karolina.
Yeah, I agree. It will be a test of who handles it better!
What’s your prediction for the final, as things stand?
Sticking with Osaka. Torn between Brady and Muchova. I think it’s going to be tough for Muchova to back up the win over Barty.