Barty accepts blame for shock Open exit

·3-min read

Ash Barty is refusing to blame her opponent's contentious mid-match medical time-out for her "heartbreaking" exit from the Australian Open at Melbourne Park.

Australia's world No.1 capitulated from a set and a service break up in a shock 1-6 6-3 6-2 quarter-final loss to Czech Karolina Muchova on Wednesday.

Barty never recovered after losing nine out of 11 games after the 27th-ranked Muchova took a tactical time-out while trailing the top seed 6-1 2-1 on Rod Laver Laver Arena.

Muchova later admitted she wasn't injured.

"I was a bit lost on the court and my head was spinning so I took a break and it helped me," she said.

"I started feeling a bit lost by the end of the first set. Ash started very good. She played like no mistakes. It was very tough."

A gracious Barty declined to discredit the Czech, taking full ownership for her deflating defeat.

"It's within the rules. She's within her rights to take that time," Barty said.

"If she wasn't within the rules, the physios and the doctors would have said so.

"That's the laws of our game, that we have those medical time-outs for cases that are needed. Obviously she needed that today."

Rather than look for excuses, Barty frankly fessed up to not handling the break well enough.

"I've played a lot of matches where there have been medical time-outs. I've taken medical time-outs myself before, so that shouldn't be a massive turning point in the match," she said.

"I was disappointed that I let that become a turning point. I'm experienced enough now to be able to deal with that.

"I lost my way a little bit there in the second set, midway through, kind of lost that momentum that I built."

With Barty the only grand slam champion left in her half of the draw, the 24-year-old had been a hot favourite to at least become the first home hope to make the women's Open final since Wendy Turnbull in 1980.

Instead she must stew over another huge lost opportunity.

"Yeah, it's heartbreaking, of course," the top seed said after having her eight-match summer winning streak suddenly snapped.

"But will it deter me? Will it ruin the fact we've had a really successful start to our season? Absolutely not.

"The sun will come up tomorrow. We go about our work again.

"You're either winning or you're learning. Today is a massive learning curve for me, for 'Tyz' (coach Craig Tyzzer), my team as well.

"We take the positives out of it, without doubt, and don't let this particular match, this particular hour of tennis deter us from what we're trying to do."

Barty is "unlikely" to contest next week's WTA event in Adelaide and plans to head to the Middle East to resume her 2021 season.

The world No.1 sat out much of last season because of the pandemic but has a full schedule pencilled in this year.

"It's a tricky one because I, the health of my team and myself will always be the priority, no matter what," Barty said.

"In a way, there is no nervousness because I feel like we'll make the right decisions that are best for us.

"That kind of takes away any of the nerves or concerns knowing that we can put full trust in if we travel, when we travel - but with the right health guidelines we put in place."