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Quote of the Day: “It was a hell of a fight” from Karolina Muchova to reach Roland Garros final
After doctors told the injured Czech she'll "maybe not do sports anymore", Muchova was even more determined to make her way back. A year later, she's into her first Grand Slam final in Paris.
Published Jun 09, 2023
WATCH: Karolina Muchova speaks with the media after her 2023 Roland Garros semifinal win.
What a difference a year has made for Karolina Muchova.
Last year at Roland Garros, the Czech had upset No. 4 seed Maria Sakkari in the second round and seemed primed for a major breakthrough—before a gruesome ankle roll left her having to retire in the third round. It was yet another injury blow for the snake-bitten Czech, who also struggled with abdominal and back injuries in 2022. But she was determined to make her way back to where she belonged, and prove doctors and doubters wrong.
“There has been many moments, many lows, from one injury to another,” Muchova reflected in her post-match press conference. “For sure, when I missed the Australian Open last year, and I was in a pretty bad state health-wise, I was working out a lot to try to get back. You never know.
“Some doctors told me, maybe you'll not do sports anymore. But I always kept it kind of positive in my mind and tried to work and do all the exercises to be able to come back.”
The 26-year-old, ranked No. 43, has come full circle this year—starting with another upset over Sakkari in the first round. Muchova then powered into her second Grand Slam semifinal, where she stunned No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka 7-6 (5), 6-7 (5), 7-5.
With the victory she didn’t just claim a spot in her maiden Grand Slam final—she extended an impressive streak in the process:
Q: Do you know about you've never lost to a player ranked inside the Top 3? What is it about you that makes you such a good big-match player?
KAROLINA MUCHOVA: Well, I didn't know about [that stat] (smiling).
I think it's maybe my game and the fighting spirit and everything together, kind of. Today it was hell of a fight, and I put everything out there. It paid off. Yeah, that might be why.
In fact, Muchova’s impressive record against the WTA’s Top 3 now stands at 5-0, a winning streak that dates back to 2019 Wimbledon—when she stunned countrywoman and world No. 3 Karolina Pliskova in a 4-6, 7-5, 13-11 nailbiter.
Since then, Muchova has continued to rack up the big wins, downing No. 1 Ashleigh Barty on home soil at the Australian Open and No. 2 Naomi Osaka in Madrid in 2021. She defeated No. 3 Sakkari last year at Roland Garros, and added No. 2 Sabalenka to the count on Thursday.
“It just shows me that I can play against them,” she explained. “I can compete, and obviously the matches are super close. Even today, match [point] down, you really never know if I win or lose…
“It's great to know that I have the chance to win and I win against the top players, and that for sure boosts my confidence.”
Her streak will face the ultimate test on Saturday, when she takes on world No. 1 Iga Swiatek in the Roland Garros women's final. Defending champion Swiatek defeated Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-2, 7-6 (7) to reach her fourth major final.
Muchova, who is seeking her first Grand Slam title, is also the fifth Czech woman to reach the championship match in Paris, following in the footsteps of Martina Navratilova, Lucie Safarova, Marketa Vondrousova and Barbora Krejcikova.