Ash Barty was in complete control of her Australian Open quarter-final. Then a medical time out was taken and it all changed.

World No.1 Ash Barty is out of the Australian Open after capitulating from a dominant position, losing her quarter-final against Karolina Muchova 6-1 3-6 2-6.

After blitzing her Czech opponent 6-1 in the first set, it seemed as though nothing could stop Barty from advancing to the semi-final.

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Barty stunned by Muchova

However, the match changed drastically when Muchova left the court for nearly 10 minutes early in the second set, already down a break, with her back against the wall at 1-2.

Barty appeared agitated by the sudden break in play and her near flawless game disappeared from sight from that point on.

It was clearly the decisive moment, with Muchova explaining to Nine’s Jim Courier after the match that she had been “lost” on the court, her head spinning in the heat and she had taken the time out to regulate her body temperature.

“They just checked my [blood] pressure and because I was a bit lost, I was spinning, so they cooled me down a bit, with ice, and it helped me,” Muchova said.

Muchova explains medical time out

Clearly the treatment worked.

Muchova broke back instantly when play resumed and the momentum shift was drastic, with Barty spraying unforced errors consistently throughout the rest of the second set, dropping it 3-6 from a dominant position to force an unlikely decider.

After winning eight of the first 10 games, Barty went on to lose 11 of the next 14.

Barty was described by Jim Courier as a “runaway train” in the first set, but if that was the case the medical time-out took the tracks out from under her.

Whether or not the break, coming at a time of complete Barty dominance, was ‘gamesmanship’ it stirred plenty of debate, both in the commentary box and throughout the tennis world.

American legend Pam Shriver perhaps said it best in a tweet that stated Muchova had played a legitimate card, but that it still didn’t sit comfortably.

https://twitter.com/PHShriver/status/1361854516669390848?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Speaking at the end of the second set, Australia’s Billie Jean Cup captain Alicia Molik attempted to explain the change that had come over the match in the unexpected 10 minute break.

“I didn’t see this coming at all,” Molik said on Nine’s coverage.

“I think Ash actually got a bit frustrated from Muchova’s injury time out. It switched the momentum and right now what I’m seeing is Ash not completely releasing off the forehand side and it’s a little bit to her own detriment.

“Just I feel from watching from the side of the court here is her [ball] toss is low and too far out in front. She’s not able to use her great kick serve.”

Molik explains how things turned against Barty

Muchova took a bathroom break after squaring the match and once again she came out the stronger of the two following the delay.

She broke Barty in the first game of the decider and held for 2-0, putting the world No.1 instantly on the back foot and facing a shock elimination.

Try as she might, Barty couldn’t wrestle the momentum back, with Muchova playing high quality tennis throughout the third set, before giving herself the security of a double break to ensure the upset.

Returning at 5-2, Barty had an opportunity to extend the match and force Muchova to serve for it a second time but she was unable to capitalise on a break point, with the Czech scrambling superbly to stave off the challenge.

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